MIAMI — The Twiglet Bank--organized by children, operated by children and open only to children--was christened Friday with a bottle of cider and a young teller's assurance that customers could be confident "because I'm smart and dependable."
"There were a lot of people out there today. It made us feel very proud of ourselves," said bank President Richard Bell, a sixth-grader.
Twiglet, so named because it's smaller than a branch, was made an honorary member of the local Chamber of Commerce and given a scaled-down plaque at dedication ceremonies before an appreciative crowd of parents and pupils at David Fairchild Elementary School.
"It'll be fun," said Nikki Russell, the sixth-grade chairwoman of the Twiglet board of directors. "I never had the opportunity to be the boss of anybody."
First National Bank of South Miami, which will serve as Twiglet's depository, trained the 23 fifth- and sixth-grade officers, tellers, clerks and security guards on the Twiglet staff.
Other schools have started banks, but Twiglet went through the entire process of chartering a national bank, even receiving a "pseudo-charter" from the federal Office of the Comptroller of Currency.
Teller Arthur Rasco, a sixth-grader, was sure customers would be confident making deposits with him at the window. "They'll probably trust me, because I'm smart and dependable," he reasoned.
Sherrie Avery, First National's marketing director, tried four times to break a bottle of sparkling cider before popping it open and spilling it over the corner of the bank building, a donated, renovated caboose.
The caboose was dedicated to Dr. William Renuart, the former principal of the public school, which has a number of enrichment programs. Renuart worked hard to start the project.