PACU launches youth program

Pictured left to right with Piedmont Advantage Credit Union are Community Development Executive Jobana Semones, youth program mascot Al Pacu and President & CEO Dion Williams.

Three years ago, when Jobana Semones was working at one of Piedmont Advantage Credit Union’s (PACU) branches in Winston-Salem, she never thought her idea for the credit union to adopt a mascot would lead her to not only bring her mascot design to life, but also to inspire the credit union’s leadership to give her the opportunity to launch a new line of business aimed for children and teens from birth to 17 years old.

Now as a PACU Community Development Executive, Semones recently introduced to the credit union’s membership the PACU Youth Program and its mascot, Al Pacu, of the alpaca family.

“Three years ago, with sketches in hand and an idea to pitch, I asked our new President & CEO at the time to consider adopting an alpaca, named Al Pacu, with the persona of an aviator, as our mascot. It never occurred to me these sketches and an idea would lead to our launching a comprehensive youth program with built-in parental involvement and account features of rewards, safeguards and benefits for our youth,” Semones said.

“What’s remarkable is every detail of this program, including the creation of Al Pacu, is a direct result of the feedback we received from PACU employees and their children,” Semones added.

When pronounced, alpaca sounds remarkably similar to the credit union’s acronym, PACU (pack-you), and the mascot’s combined first and last name, Al Pacu. The reference to an aviator is a tribute to PACU’s humble beginnings. In 1949, Piedmont Aviation formed the credit union to help its employees and employees of its subsidiary, Piedmont Airlines, establish savings and secure affordable credit.

“Unlike many other student savings and checking account products, our youth are the primary accountholders with their parents or legal guardians as joint. In their children’s early years, parents are provided tools to help them initiate age-appropriate financial habits. By the time their children are 13 years old, a student checking is available, giving their children a new level of responsibility and independence to further their learning of good financial habits and relevant financial knowledge,” she said.

The Al Pacu Club Savings account is open to members 17 years old and younger. They are compensated on milestone birthdays and rewarded for their academic achievements. PACU Student Checking is a checking account for members between the ages of 13 and 17. Students have no fees or overdrafts and receive perks, like shopping rewards and roadside assistance service.

“Most youth accounts are set up so that parents run the account. Our accounts are designed with features that are focused on the youth. We provide age-appropriate financial resources and tools that help them initiate and drive their own savings and learn good financial behaviors and independence,” said President & CEO Dion Williams.

Williams recalls his meeting with Semones when he first joined the credit union. “We couldn’t be more proud of her creativity, vision and collaborative spirit. Our youth members are going to benefit greatly because of her talents to advance the overall development of this one-of-a-kind program,” he said.

For details about the PACU Youth Program and Al Pacu, go to

Headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and founded in 1949 within the aviation industry, Piedmont Advantage Credit Union (PACU) serves member-owners, who reside, work, worship, attend school or operate a business in one of the six counties it serves in North Carolina or who are employed by one of its many employer companies. These six counties are Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Iredell, Mecklenburg and Rockingham.

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