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Building better bankers

Claire neylon and Deirdre Frawley from AIB with Sinéad Walsh, business teacher, and students Sean Kennedy, Aaron Duggan, Gráinne Maher and Gemma Mc Evoy at the launch of the Build A Bank project at St Flannan’s. Photograph by Declan Monaghan
A GROUP of six transition-year students from St Flannan’s College are using their business acumen to set up a mini-branch of Allied Irish Bank.

For a number of years St Flannan’s College has participated in the AIB Build-a-Bank Challenge, which sees transition-year students across the country run a real in-school bank, with ongoing support and guidance from AIB, including activities such as opening accounts, taking lodgements, implementing a marketing plan, balancing the books and holding meetings.
The St Flannan’s Build a Bank group have called themselves The Boss – The Bank of Students Savings. Gráinne Maher, bank manager of the St Flannan’s School Bank says it’s a great project to be involved in and the six bank staff in the group are really enjoying the challenge and learning a lot about banking in the process.
“We first opened the bank about three weeks ago, just for 15 minutes once a week. So far, about 10 students have opened accounts, which we’re quite happy with, because it’s early days yet. Two AIB staff join us for each of our banking hours and oversee everything we do.
“Essentially, they are training us to be bank staff and to understand how a bank works. Many students would probably already have bank accounts anyway but this offers students ease of access to opening an account and information on their account, without having to get into town to go to the bank,” she said.
St Flannan’s, like all of the other participating schools in the scheme, qualify to compete at an exhibition-based regional final in the school. In advance of these regional finals, each school bank team is required to prepare a business plan for the mini-branch including bank details, business goals, available products and services, finance, marketing focus on recruiting and sustaining accounts, target customer market and market size and market research.
The team will also have create a small exhibition on the running of their bank, which will be judged by a team of adjudicators, who will also interview each team at the exhibition.
The four teams deemed to be the best by the adjudicators at each regional final will be awarded prizes and the top school bank team will qualify for the national final.
A spokeswoman for AIB said that the Build-a-Bank Challenge is an exciting opportunity for students to run their own school bank with the support of AIB.
“It gives students the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of banking such as sourcing new customers to open AIB accounts through the school bank, encouraging regular savings, and new ways to bank such as AIB phone and internet banking.
“The student bank team will also have responsibility for providing ongoing customer service for their customers and keeping accurate financial records,” she commented.


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