Tag Archives: Iowa Bankers Association

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.

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.

Wells Fargo survey shows millennials most optimistic about finances

In a survey of 2,000 people, the Millennials, which are those ages 18 to 35, emerged as the most optimistic generation about their finances.

“This latest survey reflects strong optimism on the part of America’s youngest adult consumers and also tells us consumers, in general, want to learn more about how credit works,” said Shelley Freeman, head of Wells Fargo’s Consumer Credit Solutions group.

According to the report by Wells Fargo, some of the millennial highlights included:

  1. Twenty-eight percent of millennials rate their current financial situation favorably, compared to 24 percent of the general population.
  2. Sixty-six percent of millennials feel their personal financial situation will improve, compared with 48 percent of the general population.
  3. Nearly one-third of millennials say they plan to buy a new home in the next three years, compared with 19 percent of the general population.

Although there is a lot of financial optimism, many reported that they are uncomfortable borrowing money and have a low understanding of their personal finances. The survey, “How America Buys and Borrows,” is done annually by Wells Fargo & Co.

To see the full report, click here.

Heritage Bank and Maple Valley – Anthon Oto continue their partnership.

Heritage Bank and Maple Valley – Anthon Oto (MVAO) teamed up to create a partnership between the bank and school, and have continued the partnership through the 2014-2015 school year.

In the fall, second grade students visited the bank to take a tour and learn about the different jobs done by bank employees. Heritage Bank will visit the students at school in the spring .