Titonka State Bank invites students for ‘Bank Day’

By Lex Adelman, IBA Marketing/Communications Intern

In elementary school the best days were field trip days because nothing was better than getting out of class to go somewhere new and exciting. Titonka State Bank (TSB) had a “Bank Day” and invited fifth-grade students to visit their Forest City branch for a field trip after they had completed the EverFi financial literacy course online.

“Bank Day” was a hit with not only the students but also those working for TSB, because they were able to see how much the students had learned about finance. Jan Anderson, who works for Titonka State Bank said, “The students enjoyed seeing how the bank worked and asked a lot of questions based on what they learned.”  The program was able to give the students enough background information so they could ask detailed questions and continue to learn throughout the visit. The field trip was so much fun for everyone involved that TSB has already invited a summer school group for another visit.

Everfi, the online learning program that TSB has sponsored, has financial literacy programming geared toward both elementary and high school students. Between TSB’s three branches they are able to provide the programming to six different elementary and high schools between Algona, Forest City and other cities in northern Iowa.

While fifth-graders were invited to tour the bank, high schoolers also benefited from EverFi. By completing the program, they are able to meet their math and ELA Common Core standards, which are required for graduation. They are taught about things such as how to apply for loans, good credit vs. bad credit and what a credit score means. Anderson hopes the skills the students learn through the program will be useful in the students’ lives after graduation.

The bank has received very positive feedback from parents, teachers and students since the start of the program. “It’s nice for teachers because they don’t have to come up with curriculum,” said Jan, as EverFi has done a good job of keeping the information interesting and fun.

TSB is committed to supporting their community and plans to continue funding the Everfi program for the next three years. The results are worth the financial investment in the program, says Anderson. Anderson is also looking forward to more excited faces as students visit for the next “Bank Day” field trip.

Glenwood State Bank helps students practice sound financial habits

By Joseph Birkestrand, Communications Coordinator, Iowa Bankers Association

When I was a kid, I loved money. In fact, I still do. I didn’t have a bank account at the time. Instead, I kept my money in a pencil case. I enjoyed knowing I had a certain amount more than I enjoyed spending what I had saved. Of course, that’s a whole lot easier to say when your parents pay for your necessities.

I loved saving so much as a child that I think it’s safe to say I would have thrived in financial literacy programs like the ones Glenwood State Bank sponsors for area elementary and high school students.

“We are really committed to financial literacy,” said Larry Winum, president and CEO at Glenwood State Bank. “We feel it is the responsibility of the banking industry to educate our future customers.”

Glenwood State Bank sponsors an EverFi – Financial Literacy program at the local high school and a Vault – Understanding Money program (also provided by EverFi) for elementary students. The EverFi program focuses on several aspects of financial literacy, including budgeting, credit cards and loans, while the Vault program has its primary focus on saving.

By making this information available to children at such a young age, Glenwood State Bank is helping to ensure that children in the community start practicing sound financial habits at an early age.

“Children learn a lot easier,” Winum said. “We see a lot of times that people have a difficult time managing money. Children learn a lot quicker and faster.” By passing this information to students early in life, “they are able to gain a better feel for the importance of saving,” Winum concludes.

By the numbers

The results of these programs speak for themselves. In the 2015-16 school year, the programs provided by Glenwood State Bank achieved the following:

  • 243: Number of students enrolled
  • 996: Number of learning modules completed
  • 437: Number of hours of learning completed
  • 69%: Average increase on assessment test after EverFi – Financial Literacy program was completed
  • 34%: Average increase on assessment test after Vault – Understanding Money program was completed.

Banking is elementary

Glenwood State Bank doesn’t stop with the EverFi programs. They have also created the Ram Savings Bank at a local elementary school with the goal of teaching kids the importance of saving money. The bank is open one day a week, and children work as tellers, receiving deposits each week. The Bank has operated since 2001.

“We send out applications to fourth graders for tellers,” Kathy Reisner, who oversees the Ram Savings Bank. “We train them for one day and take kids from any financial background. Then we ask them to teach others what they have learned.”

The purpose of the savings bank is to get children in the habit of saving. The money that students put into the bank (a minimum deposit of $0.25 is required to open an account) is deposited into accounts at Glenwood State Bank. At the end of the year, the children are free to withdraw their funds from the account and move them to another bank if they wish.

“We’re not focused on the amount of deposits,” Winum said. “It’s more about the number of deposits.”

Glenwood State Bank provides incentives like pizza parties for the students who are able to make the most deposits. Reisner says the children not only gain a lot of knowledge about the importance of saving, but they are grateful for the experience that the Ram Savings Bank provides. She has even been able to develop relationships with the students who appreciated her guidance so much that they invited her to their graduation parties.

“You really develop great relationships [with the students], Reisner said. “I’ve even been invited to students’ graduation parties.”

As an avid saver during my childhood, my younger self would definitely have loved to work as a teller, taking deposits for my fellow students. Keeping my money in a student-operated bank definitely would have beat keeping my money in a plastic pencil case.

The Financial Literacy Blog is a platform provided by the Iowa Bankers Association to share what Iowa banks are doing to promote financial literacy in their communities. Contact editor@iowabankers.com if you would like to share a financial literacy program you sponsor in your community.