Credit union opens eighth high school branch, at Jackson

Juniors and seniors at Jackson High School are turning into financial specialists before they graduate.

The South Florida Educational Federal Credit Union opened its eighth high school branch at the Allapattah school – entirely run by students.

“We want to teach kids about finance and help them learn about managing their money at an early age,” said Soley Gonzalez, community relations specialist for the South Florida Educational Federal Credit Union.

Called the Generals Credit Union after Jackson’s mascot, the bank branch gives eight students the chance to earn honors credits while working as tellers, member service representatives and marketing specialists.

The students are responsible for tasks like opening new accounts and conducting transactions.

“Students get to work closely with our employees,” said Michael DiBennedetto, president and CEO of South Florida Educational Federal Credit Union. “They end up getting real world experience on how to work in a financial institution.”

Since 2010, the “Got Green? Financial Literacy Program” has placed credit unions in high schools around Miami-Dade County, including Northwestern, Sunset and Coral Gables High.

Because of the program’s success, says DiBennedetto, the company will open four more branches by fall 2013.

“As long as there is a demand and we get support from the schools, we will keep going in that direction,” DiBennedetto said.

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