Tuesday, October 03, 2000

Pupils gain interest in new school bank

By Lori Hayes
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BELLEVUE — Mike McLaren opened a savings account Monday during lunch at Bellevue High School.

        The 17-year-old junior was one of the first customers at the Tiger Town Savings Bank, a new student-run bank at the school.

        Complete with bank tellers and deposit slips, Tiger Town opened Monday on the stage in Bellevue High's lunchroom.

        “It's pretty cool that the school's actually got its own bank,” Mike said, adding that the service will come in handy if he forgets his lunch money.

        With a minimum deposit of $5, students and faculty can open savings accounts, while the student employees learn the ins and outs of running a bank.

        “It is a big responsibility because you're dealing with a large amount of cash,” said Stephanie Shields, an 18-year-old senior and Tiger Town bank teller.

        School banks such as Tiger Town are popping up around the Tristate, seen as a way to teach kids to be responsible with their money and to train student employees.

        It's part of an effort by high schools to expand business education programs to prepare students for the work force, said Mike Stone, executive director of the Kentucky Association for Career and Technical Education.

        “The real advantage is ... the development of skills that are directly transferable to private-sector employment,” he said.

        In partnership with Citizens Bank of Campbell County, Tiger Town bank is only a savings bank, but students say they hope to expand.

        “You make good interest off loans, so we're going to try to do that next year,” Stephanie said.

        The bank is open from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Student employees take deposits, open new accounts and calculate interest.

        Citizens got the school bank rolling, providing Tiger Town's first $100 and all of its forms, such as deposit and withdrawal slips.

        Tiger Town deposits all of its money daily into an account at Citizens, which pays the school bank 4 percent interest. Three percent goes to the customers.

        “My idea is to run it exactly how a bank is run,” said Thomas Grefer, vice president of Citizens Bank of Campbell County.

        At the end of its first day, Tiger Town took in $440 and opened 15 accounts, including those for Bellevue Superintendent Ora Cobb and Principal Mike Foulks.

        Tiger Town's nine student employees — including tellers, a marketing director, vice presidents and a president — are all in Judy Klopp's finance class. The students had to submit resumes and interview with Citizens employees to get the jobs.

        “This is real learning,” Ms. Klopp said. “And we want the rest of the students to know about savings and interest and goal-setting.”

        Bank president Nate Berkley, a 17-year-old senior, said he is considering a career in banking.

        “I make sure everything is running smoothly and everybody's doing what they're supposed to be doing,” he said. “And at the end of each day, I make sure all the money is accounted for because that could be a big problem. ... You don't get much more hands-on than this.”


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