Back-to-School Backpack Promotion!

TCM Bank, N.A., had an event that benefited both community bank customers and local students earlier this summer. The idea behind the promotion was to help community banks grow their credit card portfolio while giving back to the students in their communities.

“This promotion was very successful because it combined the best things about community banking – high-quality personalized service and an excellent credit card offering and support for a local community,” Paul Weston, president and CEO of TCM Bank, N.A.

Nearly 70 community banks participated in the promotion. Forty-eight backpacks were given out to children, complete with school supplies, Frisbees and T-shirts. Some banks held a community day event for their bank in conjunction with local youth organizations.

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Here are a few items that were included in the backpacks given out.

S. Phillip Collins, president and CEO of Sound Bank in Morehead City, N.C., said that this campaign was truly a win-win situation. “As our area’s hometown community bank, we continually strive to give our customers the personal service they deserve,” he said.

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Here’s a photo of Karen Stephenson of TCM Bank, N.A., helping to stuff the backpacks.

What about you? Was there anything in your community to help get kids geared up for going back-to-school?

Back to school finance tips for college students

Don’t panic yet, kids! There are still a few more weeks of summer left. But for incoming college freshmen, creating and managing your own finances is something that might be new to you.

Keystone Community Bank in Kalamazoo, Michigan posted six tips last summer with suggestions for incoming college students:

1. Open a checking account at a community bank in the town where the student will be going to school. Have the student put at least one other signer on the account, such as a parent (or both parents if applicable), who may have to deposit funds into the account or need access to the account in the future. Remember, banks cannot deal with someone efficiently if they’re not on the account.

2. Keep account information confidential and don’t share account numbers, passwords, PINs, etc.

3. Get a debit card to go with the checking account and get some minimal overdraft protection, just in case you or your student make an error in your account. Mistakes do happen.

4. Don’t get paper statements. Opt for electronic statements and get online banking, mobile banking and bill pay, which are free at many banks. Students tend to move frequently, so electronic statements avoid the needless hassle (and security risk) of paper statements getting in the wrong hands or not getting forwarded.

5. Use online or mobile banking to check the account daily. It just takes a couple of minutes and you can make sure the activity going through your account is all legitimate. Plus, you might be able to avoid an error that could result in overdraft charges, which are expensive.

6. Students: avoid credit card offers for the most part, or at least first talk about it with your parents, so you can make a good decision.

What other pieces of advice would you give young adults on how to handle their money?