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There's a New Bank in Town, and the Fourth-Graders are Counting the Cash

Citizens Bank opens savings branch inside Long Meadow Elementary in Rochester Hills.

The newest bank opened for business Wednesday morning in Rochester Hills, complete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a mayoral welcome and complimentary donuts and juice for anyone making a deposit.

When the morning was over, the fourth-graders behind the counter grabbed their backpacks and headed to class.

Meadows Bank, a joint effort between and the , took in about 40 deposits from students opening new accounts on its inaugural morning.

The bank is staffed by 41 fourth-graders who applied to be everything from branch manager to bank teller to security guard. It will be open every Wednesday morning for students who want to find a safe spot for their allowance money.

"The main goal of it is to teach all of the students savings skills, which is very important at a young age," said Jackie Rieger of Citizens Bank. A similar bank is also in operation at , and Rieger said Citizens is looking to expand the program to other elementary schools and even middle and high schools.

For the fourth-graders running the bank, the experience has offered real-life interviewing and job skills, Rieger said.

Derek Larson is the bank's student branch manager.

"All of us fourth-graders have been really excited and have been working really hard on getting this prepared," Larson said before cutting an oversized purple ribbon with official scissors on loan from the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce. Chamber representatives attended the opening, as did Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett.

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