Hartselle High students operate Redstone Federal Credit Union’s first in-school branch

HARTSELLE, Ala. - Tuesday, the first bank transactions were made at Redstone Federal Credit Union's newest branch, tucked away in the library of Hartselle High School.

Five Hartselle High School students and two teachers spent two weeks of their summer training. Now, the mini-branch can handle almost all the transactions of a fully functional bank, all while being monitored by credit union supervisors, both remotely and in-person.

"We see so many young people today that really need financial education," said RFCU President & CEO Joe Newberry. "We thought it was a great way of people helping people and getting students involved."

Hartselle City Schools Superintendent Dee Dee Jones one of the first to make a transaction with the young tellers.

"I opened a checking and savings account," said Jones. "One of the students walked me through that process."

Jones went on to say that soon RFCU will offer a Hartselle Tigers debit card, complete with the logo.

She also says it is something the district has wanted for years, to give students a hands-on lesson in financial literacy, and doubly acting as a resume builder for a student with interest in finance careers.

"I know it's kind of weird to have a bank in the back of the library but, withdrawals, deposits, we're basically your ATM," said Hartselle High junior Thomas McCleskey, who will help operate the branch during its short daily operating hours.

He wants to be a commercial banker, and is thankful for the chance to not only learn about finance so young, but also show younger students, including his sister in the 8th grade, that there are opportunities to learn about finance without needing a co-op.

"To be the first ones to be part of this, it's a situation you dream of having," he said.

Newberry explained that the partnership also allows students to intern with RFCU during their summer vacations.