Transition Year students in Coláiste Mhuire held the launch of their school bank on Friday 3rd March with special guest Mayo footballer Kevin Higgins in attendance on the day. Eleven students have been tasked with operating and managing a school branch of Bank of Ireland over the coming months. The aim of the programme is to educate students on the benefits of saving and to furnish them with financial skills and knowledge they need to manage money now and in the future. ‘This is a real bank account and every student who signs up will receive a visa debit card and online access to their account. A small deposit of five euro is all that is required to open an account hassle free and the bank will open every week for easy deposits and withdrawals, it couldn’t be any more simple’, according to sales manager Shane Murtagh.

The bank team in Colaiste Mhuire consists of eleven members: bank manager Sam McCarton, auditor Jack Moran, sales and marketing team Eoghan McGuinness, Sean Dunne, Shane Murtagh, and Adam McCormack, digital advisors David Zamora, John Whitelaw and Brendan McCarthy and customer service officers Matthew Joyce and Adam Lawlor. The team was selected through an application and interview process conducted by Bank of Ireland’s Cathriona Duffy and her colleague Rachel McCormack. Once selected, the bank team participated in a training day where they learned how to open and manage bank accounts, the importance of member privacy and confidentiality, data protection and general operation.  

The bank was officially launched by Mayo footballer Kevin Higgins with first and fifth year students in attendance. The bank team gave a brief introduction on the benefits of opening an account and also handed out information flyers. After the bank team presentation, Kevin spoke to students about his time in school,  playing football for Mayo and the importance of saving. He encouraged all students to try and strike a good balance between sports, school and life and to give everything one hundred percent. Kevin then spent some time speaking to members of the senior football team, providing them with some tips and advice ahead of their upcoming match.

With the bank officially open for business, the first account was opened by fellow TY student Wayne Boyce. The team are going to concentrate on hitting their targets over the coming weeks by encouraging weekly saving, building their client base, increasing current account holders activity and enhancing their customer services through the use of ICT. Speaking on the day of the launch, sales manager Sean Dunne reiterated how thankful the team are to Bank of Ireland for the opportunity to participate in such an exciting venture, ‘we feel very lucky to have been given the chance to run a real bank as teenagers and to educate our fellow students about the importance of saving. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Cathriona and Rachel in Bank of Ireland for all their support and to Kevin Higgins for making the trip to Mullingar for the launch.’