October 4, 2013: San Francisco-based Union Bank, which opened a student-run branch bank two years ago at Fresno's McLane High School, will expand in 2014 with two more student-run, on-campus operations, these in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District board of ed. The purpose -- to teach financial education and give work experience -- has been a success in Fresno: 30 student bankers have graduated from the program and four are currently employed by Union Bank branches in the Central Valley. One-hundred-year-old Abraham Lincoln High School, one of the two to open in the LAUSD (Crenshaw High is the other), is the alma mater of Leticia Aguilar, above, the executive vp of UB in charge of Community Banking in the Los Angeles-Central Valley region.
[Note: in late August, Governor Brown signed AB 166, authored by Assemblymember Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina), which requires financial literacy be taught as part of the state's K-12 curriculum. The bill becomes effective, according to Hernandez's website, "... once the [CDE] revises the history/social science, health and mathematics curriculum frameworks."]
The school branches, will offer "traditional banking products and services to students, school staff, school administrators and teachers, and Union Bank will establish a Parents Academy at each school that will offer financial education, in English and Spanish, for parents and guardians of the students ...," according to Union Bank's website.
How it works at McLane High School in Fresno: Union Bank branch manager Rachel Flores oversees operations and coaches the student bankers as part of an elective course known as the McLane Business Academy. The student bankers get experience in finance, leadership, management, and marketing, and a $500 stipend for working in the branch and a $1,000 scholarship for college when the course is completed.
“As a responsible bank, Union Bank is dedicated to increasing financial awareness within our communities, and we know that educating our youth is critical to building and sustaining strong communities for the future,” said Aguilar. “We’ve seen tremendous talent and success from the participants in our student-run branch in Fresno and our goal is to replicate that in Los Angeles.”
UB senior vp Jan Woolsey, a manager in the bank’s corporate social responsibility division, added, "...we’ve seen a 100% graduation rate in our student banker population and [97% more] going to college than the general [student] population.”
UB has 422 (non-student run) branches in Caliornia, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Illinois and New York and assets of $102.3 billion. Its formal name is UnionBanCal Corporation, and it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd.