Credit union inside Fairmont offers advantages for students

Maddie Hogan

Maddie Hogan

Hundreds of students walk down the 400 hallway every day without paying much attention. Other than the raucous noise and smell of food wafting from the cafeteria, it seems pretty much like any other Fairmont hallway. But then, some students may notice the bright orange door jamb marking Room 418. That’s the home of the Fairmont branch of the FirstDay Federal Credit Union.

The FirstDay Credit Union opened its Fairmont branch in 2007 with a goal of reaching out to a young audience that is just beginning to learn the importance of financial literacy. The branch serves students and staff and gives its student tellers an opportunity to get real-life, hands-on experience. The student tellers this year are seniors Kristina Fothergill and Lindsay Taylor, who are FirstDay employees but also earn work credits in the Marketing Career Tech Program at Fairmont.

Shyra Thomas, manager of education and community development for FirstDay, says the credit union can be an incredibly important asset for Fairmont students. “FirstDay is a great tool that helps students to gain accountability, responsibility and a working knowledge of basic banking skills,” Thomas said. “I want students to know that the credit union is here for students and even offers scholarships and great rates and services.”

Fairmont junior Cassie Loughman is a FirstDay member. “I feel that it’s very convenient, and I feel it’s very helpful for me,” Loughman said. “If I ever didn’t have lunch money, I could just stop by the ATM and then just get my money that way.”

Many students who have FirstDay accounts say it’s convenient because it offers two ATMs on campus, one located in the main hallway near the lunchroom and one in Trent Arena. They work just like any other ATM and can be accessed at any time during school hours, providing a simple way to withdraw money from an account.

Junior Meagan Wilson also uses the credit union located inside Fairmont. “I think this is much easier than using a bank because it is more convenient,” she said. “The office is located in the school, and I can just walk by there whenever I need it.”

In addition to convenience, Thomas hopes students recognize other benefits from having a FirstDay account. “Many people should use the credit union because money is an important part of life and having good financial literacy is an important skill for the future,” said Thomas. “Plus, when you open an account, it stays with you even when you go into college.”

Thomas pointed out the key difference between a credit union and a bank. “A credit union is owned by its members, much like a non-profit business. Members have a voice on how the institution is run in a credit union,” she said. “A bank, unlike its credit union counterpart, is owned by stockholders and is a profit-based business.”

When invited by a teacher, Thomas also visits Fairmont classes to speak about financial literacy issues, such as saving money for college, the value of a good credit score, and how to open and maintain a checking account.

In addition, FirstDay sponsors the Change the Future Scholarship. Young people who are credit union members and are seeking a college degree can apply for one of the two $1,500 scholarships offered each year. FirstDay will begin accepting applications for the 2012-13 school year in the spring of 2012.

The FirstDay branch at Fairmont is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from noon to 3:30 p.m. For more information, stop by the Fairmont branch or visit Thomas can be contacted at 937-222-4546, ext. 1158, or by email at [email protected]