Tag Archives: Financial Literacy

Commitment to youth compels F&M Bank to create Kids Bank, Teen Bank


7-22 financial literacy logoBy Joe Birkestrand, Communications Coordinator, Iowa Bankers Association

It’s not controversial to say that saving money is a skill that everyone needs to understand. And like anything, the earlier in life that you learn how to save, the more likely you will be to apply those skills later on. But how do you get children excited about saving?

F&M Bank & Trust in Burlington does it through hands-on experience. In 1997, the bank started a program called F&M Kids Bank, which allows elementary students to operate their own savings bank. Not only are the students able to make deposits, they also work at the bank, accepting deposits from their classmates and keeping track of accounts.

In 2012, the success of the Kids Bank and the request of a local high school for help creating a financial literacy curriculum that would help satisfy Iowa Core requirements led to the creation of a F&M Teen Bank. Financial Literacy Coordinator Jennifer Schuster believes the banks provide students with an entry point to saving for their futures. The banks have been so successful that F&M Bank currently has 850 Kids Bank accounts and 600 Teen Bank accounts that it is servicing.

“We really encourage the students to save for their future,” Schuster said. “So many of our students have plans to go to college, and they know the expense they would incur, so one of the things they say they are saving for is college.”

There are several differences between the Kids Bank and Teen Bank. First, the Teen Bank uses a computer to record deposits while the Kids Bank uses hand-written ledgers. Teen Bank students are also given an ATM card to access their accounts – although they have a maximum daily withdrawal amount – and they are given mobile and online banking options to track their accounts.

There is also a difference in the deposit limit on each bank. Kids Bank allows students to save $25 per week while the Teen Bank allows students to save up to $50 per week. Schuster said that the increased weekly deposit amount doesn’t always equate to more savings, however.

“It seems that our elementary kids are better savers than our teen savers. I think it’s because (the teens) like to spend more, but we’re out there trying to encourage them to save,” Schuster said, laughing.

One thing that is not different, however, is the 4 percent interest that the students earn on their accounts. The interest rate is one that has not changed since the Kids Bank was first introduced in 1997. It is used as an incentive to compel students to participate in the banks, but also as a way to show the value that storing money in a bank can provide.

On top of receiving valuable financial literacy lessons, the students also get a full introduction into the inner workings of banks. While students work as tellers, they also serve as the banks’ boards of directors. The boards make decisions on things like advertising the banks at the schools. Promotions have included advertising the banks at a school dance or during halftime of a basketball game. The student boards also give a presentation to F&M Bank’s Board of Directors each year on the progress of their banks.

Along with the school banks, F&M Bank also provides lessons on different topics, including identity theft, saving for the future and basic information on financial planning. Schuster said that all of the financial literacy programs that F&M Bank provides are a great way to give back to the community.

“I personally believe that it’s one way to change our society,” Schuster said. “We can help as many students as possible stay out of poverty by educating them about financial literacy. And, as a bank, we have a commitment to our community, especially our youth.”

Two Rivers Bank & Trust sponsors nine Iowa high schools with financial literacy program

Two Rivers Bank & Trust, along with EverFi, Inc., has brought the Iowa Financial Literacy Program to nine Iowa high schools during the 2014-2015 school year. The online, interactive program allows students access to financial management resources, which has improved their knowledge of key financial topics by an average of 63 percent. So far, 1,746 students have been involved in the program since it began in 2011.

Security Savings Bank Brings Financial Literacy Course to Southeast Valley

Security Savings Bank  in Gowrie and EverFi, Inc. have partnered to educate Southeast Valley students about complex financial literacy concepts. Throughout the course, students cover topics such as credit scores, insurance, student loans, credit cards and more. The progress and performance of each student is tracked and a “Certification in Financial Literacy” is awarded to those students who successfully complete the course.

“I hope that as these students make financial decisions in their daily lives, they think back to this experience,” said Bradley S. Lane, president and CEO of Security Savings Bank. “This is just the beginning – and we are proud to be a partner in this quest to prepare our students for their financial futures.”

Money Smart introduces resources available in Spanish

The FDIC recently announced that Money Smart has introduced new financial literacy resources to meet the varying needs of individuals. The curricula now includes a version in Braille for visually-impaired individuals, a large-print version and an audio version in Spanish for students whose first language is Spanish rather than English.

For more information about these new Money Smart resources, click here.

Apply for a $1,000 grant from the IBA to help small business owners in your community

The IBA is looking for applicants for the Financial Literacy Scholarship program! Member Iowa banks can apply to assist business owners in their community with financial literacy initiatives. The $1,000 scholarships are to be used to enroll the business in a program to provide entrepreneurial financial literacy and training programs.

“As a bank focused on providing financial education resources to help our business customers succeed, the financial literacy scholarship provided through the IBA was a great opportunity to expand our business seminar program and attract new participants,” said Scott T. Bauer, president of First National Bank in Ames. “The program allowed us to invite a guest speaker who discussed the importance of cyber security. Our customers appreciated the timely information, and we were able to enhance our business customer relationships.”

This scholarship is a great way to get involved with your local community, ultimately strengthening your relationship with your business customers.

To apply for a scholarship, download and complete the scholarship application here.

InFocus encourages families to save for higher education

Thanks to a new financial literacy initiative, , families are eligible to win a $1,000 College Savings Iowa account after completing a 10-minute tutorial.

College Savings Iowa InFocus is a program aiming to encourage families to take the first step toward saving for the higher education of a loved one. You need $25 to open an account, and you can invest in the account on behalf of a child. Deposits can be made by anyone, even non-Iowa residents. Iowa taxpayers can also deduct contributions up to $3,163 per account from their 2015 Iowa adjusted gross income.

Withdrawals can be made for qualified higher education expenses such as tuition, books, supplies and room and board.

For more information about the program or to complete the tutorial, visit www.Iowa529InFocus.com.

Financial Literacy Fair for Educators

On Tuesday, Oct. 20, the TS Institute will be holding a Financial Literacy Fair for middle school and high school educators. At the fair, you will be able to attend trainings specific to financial literacy topics including credit card management, credit scores and reporting, identity theft, budgeting and assistance in funding professional training in financial literacy.

Financial Literacy Fair for Educators
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
8:45 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Iowa Western Community College
705 Walnut Street, Atlantic, IA 50022


8:00 – 8:45 AM
Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:45 – 9:00 AM  
Bob Mantell, Director, TS Institute

9:00 – 11:00 AM
Money Smart – A Financial Education Program
Kevin Shields, Community Affairs Specialist, FDIC

Mr. Shields will present the FDIC’s new Money Smart for Young People series which features four free age-appropriate curriculums that are designed to promote financial understanding in young people.  Money Smart for Young People curriculums are available for grades Pre-K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.                                      

11:10 – 12:10 PM
Take Charge Today
Dr. Cynthia Fletcher, Iowa State University

Dr. Fletcher will present information on Take Charge Today, a program and curriculum with a decision-based approach to personal finance. Formerly Family Economics & Financial Education, Take Charge Today provides a consistent framework for thinking through financial choices in order to improve well-being. Curriculum is available for grades 7-12.

12:15 – 1:00 PM
Lunch and TS Institute Overview
Bob Mantell and Kyle Osborne, TS Institute

Bob and Kyle will provide an overview of the free programming and services TS Institute provides to Iowa teachers, including information on events throughout the school year, access to curriculum matrices aligned to Iowa 21st Century Skills standards, in-school banking, after school programming, and more.

1:10 – 2:10 PM
Iowa Money Smart Week/Iowa Jump$tart Coalition
Joanne Kuster, President, DynaMinds Publishing/Iowa Money Smart Week Chairperson

Ms. Kuster will provide information about Money Smart Week (MSW), a series of free classes and activities designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances. MSW partners will be hosting events April 23-30, 2016. Many Money Smart Week events are focused on students, including poster and essay contests for elementary and middle school students. Ben Franklin characters also visit schools and encourage students to be “Money Smart”.

The Jump$tart Coalition is a national coalition of organizations dedicated to improving the financial literacy of pre-kindergarten through college-age youth by providing advocacy, research, standards and educational resources. Jump$tart strives to prepare youth for life-long successful financial decision-making.

2:10 – 2:30 PM
Financial Literacy Fair Survey and Wrap Up

2:30 – 3:30 PM
Money Smart – For Bankers
Kevin Shields, Community Affairs Specialist, FDIC

Mr. Shields will discuss how Iowa bankers can partner with school districts to utilize Money Smart for Young People for CRA credit.