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New credit union inside Thunder Ridge High School provides opportunities for students

October 11, 2018
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Junior Jeremiah Gann deposits a check at the Thunder Ridge High School branch of the Idaho Central Credit Union on Tuesday. “It’s useful,” Gann said. “I live close to our bank but I’m having car problems so it makes things easier.”

Students at Thunder Ridge High School can now handle their money, and learn to handle other people’s money, without leaving the building.

Idaho Central Credit Union opened a branch inside of the high school at the beginning of the school year to help students learn more about handling finances and gain some work experience. Since September, four students have started working at the credit union location inside their school.

Thunder Ridge is the first high school in the Idaho Falls area to open a credit union or bank on their campus. Principal Douglas McLaren said Bonneville Joint School District 93 had talked to schools near Boise that already had a bank or credit union located inside them, such as Mountain View High School in Meridian, while the new Thunder Ridge building was being built.

The ICCU branch in the high school includes an ATM and other options for customers to withdraw and deposit money but does not have the full capabilities of a regular location. Branch manager Nate James said that ICCU officials knew the branch would have more limited options when it was created.

“We’re not in it to get new accounts or make loans. It is mainly for educational purposes,” James said.

The students working for the credit union receive class credit for the time they spend at the school’s branch and are paid for working part-time at other ICCU locations in Idaho Falls as well.

Hayden Miner, 17, is one of the students who work at the credit union in the school and said the experience has helped him learn a lot more about the subject.

“It’s enlightening to be learning about finance as I learn to teach others about it,” Hayden said.

While the branch is located across from the cafeteria and is only open for three hours on most days, it is technically available for public use as well. Some community members already have taken advantage of the new location, signing in at the main office so they can visit the ATM inside the school.

The majority of customers so far, though, have been the other students and staff members at the school. The branch is not constantly busy, but many students appreciate the convenience of the new location.

“It’s a little strange because we’re the same age. I have friends that come in and I help them sometimes,” said Jayden Kunz, 17, another student who works at the credit union.

The Thunder Ridge High School Branch is the fourth Idaho Central Credit Union location to open in the Idaho Falls area. The branch is open from noon to 2:45 pm while school is in session.

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