Officials from the Ingersoll-Rand Federal Credit Union in Athens and members of the Sayre High School community celebrated the grand opening of the credit union's student branch Wednesday.

The student-run branch, set up in a classroom at the school, is the first of its kind in the area, said math teacher Derek Selleck. "We're very excited," said Selleck, who will advise students volunteering to work at the branch.

The branch offers savings and checking accounts, a Christmas club, student-friendly credit and debit accounts and other services to school students, faculty and staff, said Mike Viselli, the credit union's chief executive officer.

Viselli said the branch may offer small loans in the future, for prom dresses, class rings and other school-related expenses, but has to meet regulatory requirements regarding offering loans to minors.

Credit union officials thought to establish a student branch after the credit union merged with a small credit union for employees of several area school districts, including Sayre, Viselli said.

Officials set up the branch with assistance from employees of the Corning Federal Credit Union, which set up a similar branch at the Board of Cooperative Educational Services campus in Horseheads, N.Y.

The student branch will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Wednesday. Three students have volunteered to work at the branch, with assistance from Selleck and credit union employees. Viselli said he hoped for further student involvement next year as the project continues.

The students went through an interview process and were trained extensively at the credit union's Athens office, Viselli said.

The credit union paid for computers and other equipment for the student branch, including uniforms for its employees, Viselli said. The station is highly portable and can be moved in about 20 minutes in case the classroom needs to be used, he said.

No cash will be kept on the premises, with credit union employees bringing cash back to the main branch after operating hours for security purposes, Viselli said.

Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: