Bank branch located inside Harlem school

April 19, 2010 2:47:01 PM PDT
Learning math in a classroom is one thing, but getting hands-on experience in a bank is another. Some students at a high school in Harlem are now getting that experience thanks to a bank branch located right inside their school.

After students at the Thurgood Marshall Academy cut a ceremonial ribbon Monday, they began their new jobs as tellers at a new branch bank inside their school.

"When I heard that Capital One was coming to my school, I was so excited I couldn't wait. I applied in a heartbeat," said Celeste Chiddick, one of the new student bankers.

The students have been selected, trained, and will be paid an undisclosed amount to work as tellers and officers of the bank.

"Now I have a job, it's steady, and I like it. It's really an amazing experience for me," said student banker Whitley Bermudez.

Dignitaries on hand at the ceremony, included United States Treasurer, Rosie Rios, who pointed out that this is financial education month.

"The President just issued a proclamation announcing that this month is very important for us to get the word out on what it means to empower communities with the basics of financial education," explained Rios.

Ten students were chosen out of more than 30 applicants, based on essays and interviews.

"Since I'm going to college next year, I'm hoping to be able to finance, and this is just a great opportunity to learn how to save my money and that's going to be well needed in college," said student banker Matthew Reyes.

This is the third school based branch opened by Capital One. Eyewitness News was there when the first school based branch, at the Fordham Leadership Academy, opened for business.

Not only do the young bankers benefit from the program, but their schoolmates do as well, with an accelerated program in financial literacy for every student at each school.

"The student bankers actually are going to conduct workshops to all the students from grades 6 through 12," said principal Sandy Pointer-Johnson.

"Not everyone knows about financial literacy, growing up in a low income community, so it's really great to be able to teach my friends how to save their money and open accounts for my friends and things like that," said student banker, Christopher Rowe.

This branch is a partnership between Capital One and Harlem's Abyssinian Development Corporation.

"The parents will be drawn here because of their children who attend here, and this will reverberate throughout the community," explained Calvin O. Butts, III, ADC Chairman.