COLLEGEVILLE - In school and education-it’s tough to beat a hands on learning experience.

The Collegeville Community Credit Union is a perfect example by having the first student run branch on a university campus in Minnesota. The branch location is small (Only 120 square feet) but President Mark Douvier says it provides a convenient location for students.

"I know our branch is very small but it's amazing what we can do here-we can do everything that we can do in our other office and that's 20 times the size," Douvier says.

The branch opened in Sexton Hall, next to the SJU Bookstore, in late 2014 and received a supportive grant from the Minnesota Credit Union Network Foundation.

Justin Ostendorf (SJU '2013) is the branch manager and says it’s rewarding to answer questions and provide financial advice to students.

"It's nice being on campus to address a lot of questions that students have-mostly on credit scores and student loans," Ostendorf says.

Nico Marasco is a teller at the branch and is also a project leader at the Collegeville business club, he says his friends approach him often for financial advice.

"They do it all the time, people approach me because they know that I work here-they might ask me about loans and how we help students," Marasco says.

Minnesota Department of Commerce commissioner Michael Rothman, along with commissioner of the Office of Higher Education, Larry Pogemiller and assistant commissioner for enforcement, Mary Fleischhacker, visited the credit union branch on Tuesday to praise its efforts.

"The most fun part of it is when you see them come up with an idea you would have never thought of-it helps keep our minds fresh that way," Douvier says.


Justin Ostendorf and Nico Marasco working at the Collegeville Community Credit Union branch. (Dan DeBaun, WJON)