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La Pine High School Credit Union Branch

Mid Oregon Opens First Student-Run Credit Union Branch in Central Oregon!

La Pine High School branch location offers experiential on-site career training; provides all students with real-world money management experiences.

The newest branch of Mid Oregon Credit Union has been open for nearly two weeks, but it’s understandable that you haven’t noticed—it’s not accessible to the public. The branch, complete with teller station, computers and its own two-person team, was built exclusively for a select group of members—the students and staff at La Pine High School.

First in Central Oregon

This student-run branch is the first of its kind in Central Oregon, part of a partnership between Bend-La Pine Schools and Mid Oregon Credit Union and funded by a grant from the Northwest Credit Union Foundation. The aim is two-fold: Provide new real-world career training for local students, and create additional opportunities for all students to gain critical financial literacy skills.

“This opportunity is unlike any other Career Technical Education business program in Central Oregon,” says La Pine High School Business Instructor and Student Branch Advisor Jeff Baisch. “Our Hawk Branch will provide on-site job experience, connections to classroom content, and hands-on learning for our students. We are extremely fortunate to have Mid Oregon Credit Union as our partner. This project would have never been possible without their dedication to the community and to financial education for students.”

The student branch will operate four days each week during lunch breaks and is staffed by two La Pine High School student tellers. During the summer, both students completed Mid Oregon’s extensive teller training program at the nearby La Pine branch, and work as interns at the branch during school holidays.

Preparing Students for Success

“Professionally, the credit union job is preparing me for my future career as a businesswoman,” says student teller Eden Stahl. “Even if I don’t stay in the banking business, the skills I am learning now will be transferable to many jobs out there in the world.”

Student teller Stephanie Miller agrees. “My job at the credit union is helping me prepare for my future as a young adult. I have learned the responsibility of saving your money, sticking to a budget, and when things go wrong, to take matters into my own hands instead of waiting for it to work itself out.”

The in-school location is set up to accept student deposits and withdrawals, initiate account openings, and offers its own “Hawks Checking” account—a free account with debit card specifically designed for La Pine High School students. For many students, this account provides them with their first real-world experience managing their own money.

The Beginning of a Rewarding Journey

“Although this is the first student branch for us in Central Oregon, credit unions have been successfully operating these programs since the 1990s,” says Mid Oregon’s VP Marketing, Kyle Frick. “We’re excited to bring this pilot program to La Pine High School, and appreciate the support and relationships we are building with students and staff.”

“The developmental process in working with Mid Oregon in creating a student branch has been a rich and rewarding journey for all involved,” says La Pine High School principal Matt Montgomery. “We look forward to the opportunities that this partnership will bring to our students and community.”