Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Student-run bank pays off

Two Mason seniors land teller jobs

By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MASON - Two Mason High School seniors have cashed in on what started out as a classroom learning experience.

Christina Grice and Morgan Moore, both 18, were recently hired as tellers at the Landen branch of First Financial Bank. The 18-year-olds were noticed after demonstrating their skills at Comet Savings & Loan, the high school's student-run bank sponsored by First Financial.

This trimester, Moore is a personal banking specialist at the bank, located off the school commons, where she helps staff and students with new accounts. Grice held the same position last trimester.

"It gave us a lot of the background as to what actually goes on in a bank," said Grice, who will major in sports medicine at Eastern Kentucky University next year.

For several weeks, the seniors have been working at the First Financial branch two to three days after school. They also work the drive-through window until the branch closes at 7 p.m.

"Going into the bank at first was so overwhelming because there's so many services," said Moore, who starts as a magazine journalism major at Ohio University this fall. "Now, it's much better than it used to be. I love it."

Comet Savings & Loan, which opened in October, is among the first student-run banks in the area, said Cindy Donnelly, the bank adviser.

They offer a limited number of savings accounts to students and staff. The bank, open four days a week during lunch hours, already has seen more than $100,000 in deposits, Donnelly said.

The students spent the first part of the year developing all the policies, operational procedures and even the forms that they would use.

Roughly 20 students each trimester are involved in all aspects of the bank, from tellers to marketing.

The student bank is looking to expand in the future. There's talk of offering small, instant loans for lunch and school store purchases and even an ATM.

And next year, the school will offer an introduction to banking class, Donnelly said. She hopes the continuing program will help other students land positions in the banking industry as well.

"This got us the job - 100 percent," Moore says.

E-mail esolvig@enquirer.com

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