Making bank: Good personal finance should start in schools

Car loans, student debt, bad credit… When it comes to money there are so many decisions to be made when you reach adulthood. As with everything, what you learn in school could change the direction of your life. As a teacher, money isn’t necessarily a subject you’re well-versed in. But have you thought about setting up a school credit union so students can learn by doing?


Scotwest wants to show how easy and fun it can be for young people to think about their finances and learn about money management – by taking control of their cash. While membership to the credit union is restricted to those aged 16 and over, the co-operative works in partnership with nurseries, primary and secondary schools across the west of Scotland offering the opportunity for staff and students to open and run their own credit union branches.

It’s a great introduction to finance, encouraging children to think about saving and to develop sound money management skills for the future, not just as savers but as ‘employees’ of the school’s credit union branch, whether as a teller, accountant or even security staff. Pupils save with Scotwest through their school branch by opening a MoneyWise Account. They can add to their savings on a regular basis by making deposits at their branch and check their balances at any time by registering for Scotwest’s online banking service.

Young savers up to the age of 13 will need the help of a parent or guardian to act as trustee and authorised signatory for the account and to help them manage the account on a day to day basis. From the age of 13, the account holder takes on full responsibility for the account and from this point online banking access also includes the ability to make withdrawal requests to the account’s registered bank account.

At the age of 16, the MoneyWise Account will be closed and the account holder may apply to become a Young Member of Scotwest, taking advantage of a full range of savings accounts including long term Notice Accounts and Christmas Savings Accounts. All savings held in the MoneyWise Account at that time will be transferred to a new Scotwest Saver Account.


Scotwest works with the school by providing the support and paperwork necessary to set up the branch from account application forms, withdrawal slips and savings books to confidentiality agreements and customer verification letters. How the branch is run will be up to the school; from whether it opens fortnightly or weekly to what the branch is called. Scotwest makes it as simple as possible for the school office to bank the money either by cheque through the school’s bank account or giro slips.

Scotwest Credit Union is a member owned financial co-operative focussed on delivering better financial lives for members by offering competitive and fair financial services. If you want to find out more about opening a Scotwest School Credit Union Branch please call 0141 227 2390, or visit their website.