Del-One partnership will bring limited bankers’ hours to IRHS next school year

DAGSBORO – Limited bankers’ hours will be coming to Indian River High School during the 2018-19 school year.

Unanimous Indian River School District board of education approval Feb. 26 authorized Indian River High School and Del-One Federal Credit Union’s partnership in Del-One’s Student Branch Program that will offer in-school banking/financial services to students and staff of the high school and the Indian River School District as well as a pathway-aligned educational component.

Del-One Federal Credit Union and Indian River High School are partnering in Del-One’s student run branch program.

The basic premise of this partnership in providing an actual credit union branch office is to develop an experiential learning environment for students participating in the business curriculum.

“It is part of the marketing/finance pathway,” said IRHS principal Mike Williams.

“Del-One is not going to make any money,” said IRHS business teacher Jeff Bunting. “They are so concerned with teaching kids the importance of good money management and financial literacy that they wanted to do the partnering. If they get some new accounts open from this process, good for them. But that is not their goal here. It is not to establish a sales presence at the high school. It is literally to provide financial literacy education at the high school.”

It will tie in with the IRHS business department’s two pathways: marketing and accounting/finance.

“It’s an ideal way to apply the skills learned in the classroom in a real-world environment,” said Mr. Bunting. “Our intention here is to develop a learning pathway through experiential learning whereby the students are actually serving as bank tellers. We’re going to be leveraging that so that our marketing and our accounting and finance students have the opportunity to apply the skills they have learned in the classroom in a real-world professional setting.”

“And we are literally talking about having the students trained as bank tellers,” said Mr. Bunting. “Del-One is going to be providing training to the students on their live account management system.”

The high school be a “closed branch” satellite for Del-One’s Dagsboro and Georgetown branches. “We will be working in close conjunction with the branch managers for those two offices,” said Mr. Bunting.

As a closed branch, banking services will not be available to the general public. Services will be available to staff, faculty and students of the IRSD. “So, the students, the teachers, the administrators and other staff members will be able to do personal banking here,” Mr. Bunting said.

Services at the IRHS branch would include withdrawals, deposits to existing accounts, or loan payments. “You’ll be able to get the materials to open an account here, but we won’t be dealing with the personal banking side of the teller operations. That information will be forwarded to our partner branches for processing,” Mr. Bunting said.

Authorized and trained SRB (Student Run Branch) students will man a kiosk to be located in the school cafeteria.

In the partnership, Del-One FCU will provide:

  • training of students and faculty on credit union operating procedures;
  • training of SRB students on soft business skills (communication, making decisions, leadership, team work);
  • data processing hardware cabling, all necessary peripherals and teller counter configuration;
  • a suitable safe for the secure storage of cash and teller drawers;
  • insurance and surety bond protecting credit union and high school from possible criminal activities by students and from property destruction by others or from other insurable perils;
  • custom marketing materials (signage and forms); and
  • an on-call credit union professional during operating hours.

In turn, Indian River High School will provide the kiosk, furniture and supplies, telephone and internet access and other responsibilities.

The estimated cost to the Indian River School District is roughly $13,000. Two sources for program funding are state 509 funding and federal Perkins funding.

“We are not asking for additional funding for operational set-up,” said Mr. Bunting.

Perkins Funding is federal grant money that can be used for complimenting existing business programs or under certain conditions used to add additional programmatic extensions.

“We may be able to use some of that for start-up costs,” said Mr. Bunting.

509 is sustainment funding provided by the state of Delaware for the business pathway. “What that means is that operational costs and in many cases construction costs can come from 509 funding,” said Mr. Bunting. “So, we have a mix of federal and state funding that we are looking at to use to get this program up and running.”

A separate, secure area will be established as a teller work station. The high school business staff – Mr. Bunting and Steve Kilby – will supervise students as they engage in teller operations.

“Obviously the demands of the classroom require that we be in the classroom,” said Mr. Bunting. “So, we will be doing limited banking hours. It may be a couple of hours a day, probably toward the middle of the day when the students have lunch and they have free time. We’re not looking at a 9 a.m.-to-3 p.m. schedule. We may be looking at two to three hours per day, or two to three hours two or three days a week. This is something we will be doing to compliment the program.”

The plan is to have the branch up and running at some point during 2018-19 school year. “As far as being ready to go live by September, that’s a little more ambitious a timeline than I think we will be able to complete,” said Mr. Bunting. “Something more realistic is probably mid-year.”

The student branch program is a “natural extension” of the Del-One Federal Credit Union philosophy of “people helping people” while developing youth programs and to training young people for better career opportunities.

It is designed to expose students to the intricacies of credit union accounting, member services, marketing projects and financial management activities while exploring the inter-connectivity of those areas in running a successful business.

Expectations are the business training and practical experience gained through participation in the Credit Union Student Branch Program will benefit both college and non-college student.

“One of the benefits is it’s teaching kids about financial literacy but it’s also helping them develop real job skills,” said Mr. Bunting. “The students who go through the program and have experience serving as bank tellers, they have a leg up when it comes to looking for that first job after high school or that job while they are in college, in that they are trained bank tellers at that point once they graduated.”

James Fritz, the school board’s building and grounds liaison, noted that IRHS students in the program will be learning proper dress code working in a business/finance situation while also undertaking marketing for the credit union and marketing products.

Two other schools in the state – Dover High School and Caesar Rodney High School – have similar student run branch partnership programs with Del-One.

“Caesar Rodney just went live a month ago,” said Mr. Bunting. “We are the first one in Sussex County.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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