Macon's newest credit union can be found in most unlikely of places: a school. Students are getting real-world experience at the new MidSouth Community Federal Credit Union branch inside Hutchings College and Career Academy.
The full-service branch, which had its grand opening Jan. 30, is located inside the school at 1780 Anthony Road and open to the public. It has two teller stations, an office for customer services and a meeting room for staff training.
Six students in the Bibb County district's Youth Apprenticeship Program serve as paid, part-time tellers and are supervised by MidSouth full-time employees, said Roy Bibb, MidSouth CEO. The company plans to work with students in Hutchings' banking pathway in the future.
"It's been really great," said Kim Elkins, MidSouth training and service development manager. "We're seeing more and more members come in every day. We're opening new accounts, gaining new members. (It's a) great group of kids. They've just been a joy to be around."
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The opportunity is open to juniors and seniors. They work 2 1/2 to 3 hours on weekdays, rotating between the Hutchings branch and the Mercer University branch, Bibb said.
The students could continue to work for the company after graduation, and Bibb hopes to see some eventually end up in leadership roles at MidSouth. One of the student tellers has changed her college major to accounting since starting the job, Elkins said.
"What's neat about it is they go through the exact same training. We vet them the same we do our employees," Bibb said. "We don't skip anything. They're required to perform, show up, dress, provide that same level of service. It's not a shortcut in any way, shape or form."
Rashaun Neville, a senior at Rutland who is dually enrolled at Central Georgia Technical College, works at the branch from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. He said he's trained to do all transactions, from deposits to withdrawals to cash advances.
Neville hopes to go to Mercer University and then law school, and the people skills he's learned through his MidSouth job will help in his future law career and look good on his resume, he said. He is volunteering to work at the credit union this summer.
"I love this place," he said. "I like working with my co-workers. The second best thing is working with members, talking with them, getting to know faces. I also like the stories that members like to bring in."
The Hutchings branch is open weekdays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. It averages about 10 customers a day now, but those numbers are increasing daily, Elkins said. Twenty-three people stopped by the first Friday it was open and 20 on Feb. 8.