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Empowering Youth Employees with Banking and Education

City and Rio Grande CU Offering New Youth Priority Bank Account and Financial Literacy

June 7, 2023

Every summer over 1,000 young people join the City of Albuquerque as recreation leaders, lifeguards, tennis and swim instructors, and more. This year during New Employee Orientation, they were offered the opportunity to open a special Youth Priority bank account through Rio Grande Credit Union and learn about financial responsibility and smart budgeting.

“Our youth employees are an essential part of the City’s ability to offer summer programming” said Community Services Division Manager Cristin Chavez-Smith. “By both serving and employing Albuquerque’s young people, we are building our city’s strong future. Financial education and empowerment is a big part of that and we are excited to launch this program this year.”

Rio Grande Credit Union’s Youth Priority Checking Account is available to all city employees age 14-24 and does not charge overdraft fees or monthly maintenance fees, is set up with direct deposit for city paychecks, and the account does not require an adult joint owner, empowering young employees to be responsible for their income. Youth employees also receive financial literacy education through Rio Grande Credit Union and the City of Albuquerque’s Bank On Burque program. Over 20 accounts have already been created in the two weeks they’ve been available to youth employees.

“As we celebrate our 70th Anniversary this year, we couldn’t be prouder to partner with the City of Albuquerque Youth Connect Program. As a credit union that was formed by a small group of City of Albuquerque employees in 1953, the opportunity to continue honoring our roots and developing access to a safe and convenient account for teens and young adults in the workforce was something we were eager to offer. We thank the City of Albuquerque for their trust in us to offer this account to their Youth Connect employees as we work to promote strong money-management habits and wellbeing." Said Rio Grande Credit Union CEO Mike Athens.

Last summer, the City of Albuquerque was selected as a Summer Jobs Connect grantee by national nonprofit Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund). Albuquerque joins 24 other municipal partners in adding banking access and targeted financial education to their Summer Youth Employment Programs. The City of Albuquerque’s participation in the Summer Jobs Connect initiative is supported by the PNC Foundation; the PNC Foundation joins the initiative’s seed funder, the Citi Foundation, in supporting the national Summer Jobs Connect initiative. SJC cities and counties across the country have formed partnerships with more than 50 banks and credit unions to open specialized Youth accounts for participating cities. 

““An early job is more than just a paycheck – it’s the first step into the financial mainstream,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “We’re thrilled to work with Mayor Keller and the City of Albuquerque to bring the Summer Jobs Connect model of banking access and financial education to Albuquerque youth; we thank the PNC Foundation supporting this work in Albuquerque, and the Citi Foundation for their longtime seed support of this important work.”

“For many young people, working at the City is their first real job,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “Access to tools to manage their hard-earned money in an affordable and supportive environment helps set them up for financial wellness in their time at the city and beyond.”

Summer Jobs Connect expands the Bank On Burque program to youth. Since the launch of Bank On Burque in 2020, more than 950 families across Albuquerque have opened the “Fresh Start” checking accounts available to adults and built nearly $400,000 in savings.