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Why Student Run Credit Unions Matter

Contributed by: Heath Combs

Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Class of 2014 college graduates held an unenviable and alarming distinction: most indebted class ever. With an average tab of $33,000 and even after adjusting for inflation, the class graduated with double the debt borrowers had to pay back 20 years ago.

Navigating life in your 20s occurs largely without a financial roadmap. That’s why it’s important for students to gain saving and money management expertise early. The broader role of financial literacy is rightly gaining acceptance as a pillar of education. It’s an essential life skill.

There are a lot of reasons Truliant supports student credit unions like the one at Wiley Magnet Middle School in Forsyth County. 

Truliant’s Wiley Student Credit Union helps students learn financial skills to help them succeed. This in-school student-run credit union is a functioning branch where students gain experience and is an educational resource. Additionally, it’s a convenient place for students, educators and staff to bank and start a free checking account.1

Students from Wiley Magnet Middle School in Winston-Salem are mentored on how to run the branch. They learn job skills by serving as tellers, bookkeepers, computer operators, branch managers, or marketing managers. Students learn about professionalism and communication skills.

Students also learn about the choices they have when it comes to banking. Truliant is a credit union, not a bank. Students may not know that they have a choice of where to bank, or of the philosophical differences between banks and credit unions. Credit unions are  not-for-profit organizations that exist to serve their members rather than to maximize corporate profits, and return surplus income to their members – who are the actual shareholders of the credit union - in the form of better services, great rates, lower fees and caring guidance.

They may not know that their choice of a financial institution is more than a default selection. It can have an impact in their community and in their life.

Truliant’s focus starts with guidance that leads to smart financial decision making that strengthens your finances. Not with channeling profits to a small group of stockholders.

Students can join the Wiley Student Credit Union for free. Parents, students and staff can also join by opening an account with $5 like they would at any other Truliant location, and conduct transactions with students.

In-school credit union branches are not uncommon. They provide a unique and hands-on way for young people to take control of their money and financial future.


  1. Must meet credit bureau and ChexSystems qualifications. Speak to a Truliant representative for details. 

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