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Starting on the Right Foot: Member Success Story with Jamie Raines

Jamie Raines joined Cooperative Federal early in her teenage years, when she was involved with the CNY Works youth summer jobs program. “We were getting paychecks,” Jamie explained, “so they told us, ‘I think it would be nice if you guys started an account.’ And they brought a lady from the credit union to open our accounts at the community center where we worked.”

It started with just a few dollars in a “Treehouse Saver” kids account, but Jamie has been a member ever since.

By the time she graduated from Corcoran High in 2013, Jamie was well ahead of the curve in terms of college and career readiness. She had spent three years in the fashion institute at the school district’s Johnson Center, and quickly discovered a talent for sewing and design. She even made her own prom dress, and an elaborate peacock masquerade ballgown which is now on display at the Breath of Fresh Air (BoFA) gallery on Montgomery Street.

With a track record like that, it was no surprise that Jamie decided to pursue a college degree in fashion design. She was working on financial aid plans when she learned about Cooperative Federal’s Matched Saving Program. “I had applied to schools and so I asked at the credit union, ‘Have you heard about any scholarships?’ Sukema told me, ‘You know what, there’s a program where if you save $1,000, we’ll match you with $2,000.’”

The combined $3,000 went a long way in supplementing her regular financial aid – especially in covering all of the costly art supplies Jamie needed for the fashion program. Jamie even got a small, short-term loan from Cooperative Federal so that she could start purchasing important school supplies before her aid was available for disbursement. “When I joined the program, Kira showed me my credit report and I didn’t have any credit. Now I have a credit score.” Before long, Jamie even got her first car loan from Cooperative Federal. 

Today, Jamie is a junior at Syracuse University and well on her way to a successful future. And she’s glad to have Cooperative Federal as her financial partner. “I feel like [the credit union] teaches me how to manage my money,” Jamie says. “And I like that it’s small and intimate, and that the staff know me when I come to the office. It might not be as big as other banks, but I think that makes me more responsible.”

Learn more about our Matched Savings Programs.