The Bob Jones Branch of Redstone Federal Credit Union

Hadley Rosengrant, Writer

If you have paid any attention to your surroundings at all, you have probably noticed that there is a credit union in the downstairs commons at Bob Jones. Redstone Federal Credit Union (RCFU) approached the Madison City Board of Education about opening branches in the two secondary schools in the area. This is not an unusual idea, as there are currently a few high school branches at Hartselle, Decatur and Austin high schools. College campus branches can be found at UAH, AAMU, and Calhoun. Students can also register to receive an Affinity card, this is a special debit card with the MCS logo on it. Each swipe of the card will funnel 10 cents that will go towards school safety and security funds.

Brandy Van Dam, a teacher supervisor for the project, explained, “A Bob Jones RCFU branch benefits everyone involved. Students receive real-world training and experience since they are actual employees of RFCU.  They were paid during training all summer.  They also have the opportunity to continue working at the branches after high school at either UAH, Calhoun, or AAMU. RFCU builds new relationships as well as new members who are excited about having the convenience of a branch at school.”

You may have also noticed that the employees at the credit union are actually students at BJHS. These students applied for the Banking and Finance class offered at Bob Jones last year and were vetted thoroughly by both the school and RCFU. This summer, these students, along with their teacher supervisors, went through two weeks of thorough teller training to learn about Redstone’s corporate policies, teller procedures, confidentiality, and security. Each of these students is considered an actual employee of Redstone Federal Credit Union.

Jada Bennett, a senior and a vault teller at the bank, stated, “This is a really good opportunity that benefits everyone. I want to work in promotional marketing and business management, and working at the credit union is very fun, and it’s just a good environment. It’s also a good opportunity for the school because it makes accessing money easier for students, and it teaches financial responsibility. It’s also very helpful for students that need to withdraw money for extracurricular activities.”

Principal Sylvia Lambert shared her rationale for the campus bank. “Our students experience a hands-on opportunity on a daily basis to learn about banking processes and the inner workings of the banking business. I hope students have noticed that we keep adding courses that offer many hands-on experiences that are tied to careers in our community and surrounding areas. The banking class is one of these courses that benefits not only the students who are taking the course but also benefits students and teachers at Bob Jones who have an account at Redstone Federal Credit Union as customers deposit money, cash checks and  other transactions.”

So what all are students able to do at the bank? Van Dam elaborated, “The current transactions that are able to be processed at this branch are: deposits, withdrawals, and loan payments.”

Of the BJHS students surveyed, 41% had a savings or checking account at a bank, some already with Redstone. Starting next year, student workers will be trained to open new accounts. An employee of the UAH Campus Branch will come over once a week to open new accounts [until then]. New federal law states that any person 16 and over can open a savings and checking account without parent signatures. That’s a large portion of the population at BJHS that can open accounts and handle their financial transactions here at school.”