Banking an interest in saving

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Some kids may only deposit a few pennies.

Others make add $10 or $15 – their entire month’s allowance – to their accounts each month.

Regardless of the amount of their investments, the young participants in the Nansemond Credit Union’s Little Savers Club hopefully will bank a lifelong interest in saving money,

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said Karen Jenkins, the credit union’s CEO.

The credit union started the savings program at Booker T. Washington and Nansemond Parkway Elementary schools three years ago to help youngsters develop the habit of saving, said Jenkins.

Credit union employees set up a teller’s booth outside the schools’ cafeterias once a month, giving students the chance to open accounts or make deposits into their existing ones.

Children at Booker T. Washington can do their banking today and subsequent first Wednesdays of each month; the credit union will be open for business at Nansemond Parkway on the third Wednesday of each month.

To date, more than 200 students have active accounts, Jenkins said.

&uot;I started the program because I felt there was a need for kids to learn save money at an early age,&uot; said Jenkins. &uot;Good savings habits need to begin as soon as a child begins to ask for money.

&uot;…This program teaches the importance of savings; it enhances students’ counting skills and it teaches them how interest is earned on monies saved.&uot;

Fran Barnes, assistant principal at Booker T. Washington, agreed.

&uot;It’s great to have this in our school, especially since it is a local credit union,&uot; she said. &uot;It makes the SOLs (Standards of Learning) come alive for the students because its real money…and it’s their money.

&uot;In addition to learning about adding and subtracting, they are learning responsibility about money.&uot;

Even after students advance beyond the two elementary schools, their credit union accounts remain in place, Jenkins said. Ideally, children will continue saving through their school years.

&uot;The accounts will carry over from year to year,&uot; said Jenkins.

In addition to making deposits at the schools, children can go to the credit union at 617 E. Washington St. to add to their accounts.

The savings program has proven to be such a successful learning tool that other credit unions around the country have implemented similar ones, Jenkins added.