Thrifty Marauders Operating Their Own Credit Union

Waipahu High School students now have access to their own fully furnished credit union facility, which was made possible through a partnership with HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union.

The new Student-Operated Credit Union (SOCU) is the first to have a dedicated space right on a school campus, and it is designed to look like an actual HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union branch.


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Waipahu High School's new Student-Operated Credit Union is a part of the school's Academy of Finance. Staffed by students, the credit union is available for use by students, faculty and staff.

To keep with the real-life theme, the Nov. 21 grand opening included entertainment, as well as a formal blessing – just as an opening for any HawaiiUSA branch would have.

“We’ve partnered with Waipahu High School for several years now,” said Stacie Rosa, senior sales and service trainer with HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union. “They were the first school to take on the SOCU, and we partner with them each year.”

Rosa took over as the program coordinator at the end of last year, and in that brief time has implemented changes, revisions and enhancements to the program and curriculum.

“We wanted to make it more real life for the students,” she explained. “Principal (Keith) Hayashi designated an actual space for us on the campus to have a permanent spot for our credit union.”

The new facility also features branding, decor and furniture representative of HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union.

For now, the Waipahu branch is open Thursdays during the students’ lunch/recesss period, and only is available to students, faculty and staff.

The purpose behind the SOCU program is to educate students and provide them with real-life skills, such as budgeting, writing checks, managing their savings, the importance of savings, and retirement planning.

The program also delves into career planning and activities such as “dress for success,” which features professional dress and mock interviews.

Other SOCU programs can be found at Saint Louis School and Farrington High School, as well as two schools on Maui (Maui High School and Seabury Hall). While these schools utilize the SOCU program, Waipahu High School is the only one with a dedicated space.

“The whole branding of the branch (at Waipahu), is kind of our pilot for what’s to come eventually for our other schools,” Rosa explained.

“We really want to provide them with the opportunity to have real-life work experience and learn about the financial industry, enriching the whole life of the students before they go out into the real world.”