Union Bank has opened a branch office at Crenshaw High School that teaches students about the financial services industry.

During the year-long program, young people learn basic banking, budgeting, establishing accounts, money distribution, and financial literacy. They also receive hands-on work experience.

The branch is open to students, parents, faculty, and staff, and offers a variety of services such as opening accounts, and making deposits and withdrawals.

Another goal of the program is for students to share the information learned with parents to continue to expand financial literacy within the Black community.

“Financial literacy has (often) been lacking so we are here to educate the community and students,” says Vernell Taylor, branch manager at the Crenshaw High location.

Additionally, the branch plans to establish a Parent Academy, which will offer financial education and money management, in English and Spanish.

Students participating in the program receive a one-time stipend of $500, received after they are trained, and an additional $1,000 scholarship at the end of the entire program. With a 100 percent graduation rate and 97 percent of program participant’s accepted into colleges, the program advocates and hopes students use the money earned to attend college but does not restrict funds to that use.

Union Bank opened its first student-run branch in 2011 in Fresno, at McLane High School and five McLane graduates are currently employed by Union Bank in the Central Valley.

Union Bank is looking to expand to six to eight more high schools in the state by the end of the year.