There was a wonderful air of anticipation around Carrigallen Vocational School on Friday 6th February as the school community prepared for the arrival of internationally renowned Cavan band The Strypes to open the school bank.
They were assisted in this task by 2nd Year student David Rawle, star of the International EMMY award winning comedy ‘Moone Boy’ and voice of one of the main characters in the currently Oscar nominated Irish animation film ‘Song of the Sea’.
Chairperson of both Leitrim County Council and the Carrigallen VS Board of Management, Mr. Paddy O’Rourke, attended along with representatives of the Board of Management (Maura Williamson and Betty McDermott), the Parent’s Council (Patricia Ledwith and Ann Pollock), AIB (Karen from AIB Cavan and Phil from AIB Leitrim)and the local media. Principal Mr. Conboy welcomed all comers, Sarah Moran spoke about the setting up of the bank and Mrs. Edwards introduced the special guests, listing their achievements to date.
The students were then invited to ask questions of either The Strypes or David Rawle and the boys were all forthcoming and funny in their answers. The special guests then declared the bank officially open for business.
The creation of an internal bank for the students is part of the AIB ‘Build a Bank’ school’s competition. Involvement in this competition was initiated by Mrs. Edwards, the TY Co-ordinator in the school.
Interviews were held with individual TY students to decide on a Management team within the bank and places were appointed - Sarah Moran (Bank Manager), Conor Hession (Assistant Bank Manager), Victoria Whelan (Sales and Marketing Manager), Clare Harkness (Financial Controller), Ciara Lavin and Niamh Brady (Customer Services) and Aoife Donohoe (Assistant).
The team got busy with some market research and drafting information leaflets and distributing these to students and parents.
The first task was to find a name and Molly Brooks (1st Year) was the winner of a competition to find the most creative name for the bank. The ‘Midas Bank’ then opened for business in January with an official from AIB on hand to help out the management team. The number of students opening accounts with the bank has grown steadily on a weekly basis since.
Students are encouraged to open a 2nd a Level Student Account and they receive a debit card (parental permission is sought for under 16s).
The benefit of a student account is that account maintenance, transaction fees and commission charges on foreign currency will not be charged. It also introduces students to the services that financial institutions have to offer and encourages them to save.
The bank team has come up with a number of creative ideas to both stimulate awareness of the bank and to encourage students to start saving. These ideas include free treats, a raffle and a special Valentine’s Day promotion.