Money Cave

Delivering Financial Services to Communities Across Northern Minnesota


Cook Area Credit Union joins North Woods Grizzlies

ISD 2142

North Woods "Money Cave"

Student Branch



North Woods "The B.O.S.S."

Student Focus Group     




Our Vision Becoming a Reality

It has been noticed recently that students across the country are graduating from high school without sufficient knowledge of personal finance.  This can all lead to poor decisions that can affect their finances for years or decades to come.  The financial system in our country is dictated by a handful of extremely large banks.  The top 10 banks hold 80% of all personal assets.   This is to benefit those large banks, not to the people who use them.  Scammers and predatory financial institutions can trick you into making poor decisions that may ruin your credit before you even get it established.  We all need to be careful in order to protect ourselves.

In contrast the Cook Area Credit Union is a Non-Profit Corporation.  Therefore we have a mission; “to provide an alternative to bank products and services, and to provide financial education to our members and communities.”  The large banks do not have a mission; they exist solely to make profits.

Since 2006 Cook Area Credit Union started this particular mission by partnering with ISD 2142 to help teach financial education to students in the classroom.  Employees from the CACU volunteer to go into the classrooms and provide education on important financial topics such as balancing check books, investing and interest, and the importance of saving and spending wisely. 

Starting in 2008  CACU began hosting an annual fun and educational event at the Cook School called “family fun night”  This tradition has continued at the North Woods Campus with over 250 students, accompanied by their parents, attending last year

In February of 2014, the “24 people Who Care” from the Cook Area Credit Union continued their commitment to help educate the members and the community and created a unique educational opportunity.  The CACU partnered with St. Louis County School District 2142 and opened a Student Branch in the North Woods School Campus.

The purpose of this student branch is to teach personal financial education. Unlike our current branch on 24 South River Street in Cook, this is a very small, educationally focused site, with minimal services. This student branch provides a huge boost to financial education for the students at North Woods School.

It all began by starting a focus group of students to help with the creation of the branch.  An ad was placed to students from grades 10th-12th to apply with interest.  After receiving applicants 10 students were chosen to take part of the now known student focus group called The B.O.S.S. (Bunch of Students Saving).  Every year students in these grades will have an opportunity to apply and take part of this Student Focus Group called The B.O.S.S. This group has and will continue to help with marketing ideas, create savings programs, and help teach financial concepts to students, in addition to many other functions.

Together the B.O.S.S. hosted a contest to come up with a name for the new student branch.  After taking in the teacher’s ideas for a name, the B.O.S.S. narrowed it down and had the High School Student Body make the final decision. The “North Woods Money Cave” was then selected as an appropriate fit.  The B.O.S.S. then came up with the slogan “Save at the Cave.”

Through an application and interview process students have been hired to work at the student branch with the supervision of a CACU employee.  These students are gaining experience in job interviewing/training, learning the responsibilities of maintaining a job, being educated on how to make wise and informed financial decisions, and of course, they are learning the importance of confidentiality.

Thus far, many students and staff have benefited from the North Woods Money Cave.  All students and faculty are able to have their own accounts, which helps teach the students the benefits of saving through some of the programs that have been created by The B.O.S.S.  They also will continue to learn multiple financial needs, such as: balancing a check book, recognizing predatory offers, properly utilizing debit and credit cards, living within a budget, having a savings plan, and how to build a solid financial foundation for their future. 

We will continue to work towards enabling the students to keep more money that they have earned by teaching them how to make wise and informed financial decisions while educating, motivating, and empowering them to become regular savers.

The future of our communities and our country will be in the hands of today’s students.  At the Cook Area Credit Union we believe we should do everything in our power to help them succeed.


Office Hours Monday - Thursday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Friday 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Drive Thru Hours Monday - Thursday 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Friday 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

North Woods Money Cave Branch Hours  Wednesdays 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (closed during school breaks)