Maine’s Machias Savings Bank Hosts “Future Promises” event

Since 2003, Maine community bank Machias Savings Bank has hosted Future Promises for students throughout Washington County, one of the most rural counties in the state which face a high level of poverty. The program starts with an annual job fair hosted by MSB at the University of Maine at Machias. All students in grades 3rd-6th in Washington County are invited to attend the fair. The bank invites various professionals to attend as well to discuss their jobs with students. Some of the professionals include: bankers, construction workers, vets, broadcast reporters, law enforcement and many others. Each of the professionals has a booth where they speak to the kids about their job and what it took for them to get into their chosen profession. Many of them provide engaging activities for the children to help spark their interest.

Traci Sanborn interviewing little boy

In addition to hosting the event, there is also have a booth staffed by MSB employees. At the MSB booth, staffers distribute financial literacy materials and discuss banking careers with the students. Each teacher is provided a series of financial literacy games to use in the classroom.

After the fair, students are encouraged to write an essay on what they want to be when they grow up and submit it to the bank. A committee reviews the essays and selects 20 winners. The recipients and their families are invited to an awards banquet where MSB provides dinner and presents them with their award. Students receive a certificate, a complete set of financial literacy games and a $250 voucher that can be applied to a savings account or a 529 college savings account.

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This program has achieved tremendous growth in the past several years with more than 900 students attending the Future Promises Job Fair in 2013. Currently, Machias Savings Bank is exploring the expansion of Future Promises to include two additional counties.

Throughout the month of August, we’ll be posting regular posts highlighting financial literacy information, including community banks who are active in their local communities’ financial literacy programs.

Have a story to share? Reach out to either Audrey Wright-Cipriano at audrey.cipriano@icba.org or Jessica Wallace at jessica.wallace@icba.org.

TrustAtlantic Bank and The Daniel Center for Math and Science Team Up

In late 2012, TrustAtlantic Bank implemented a financial literacy program with The Daniel Center for Math and Science. The Daniel Center is an after school program for children ages 5 to 12 that is located in a low-income census tract in Southeast Raleigh. The financial literacy program, entitled “The Money Club” was developed by bank employees specifically for The Daniel Center.

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The curriculum uses a combination of established financial literacy materials and unique lesson plans, created by bank employees. The children earn Money Club “dollars” for participating in a lesson. Each child has their own checkbook register where they log their participation dollars and can use their dollars to purchase items from the Money Club store. The children are encouraged to save their dollars for the more desirable, higher cost items in the store. In order to make a purchase, each child must write a check and deduct the purchase from their register.

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The Bank provides all of the materials for The Money Club, including the store items. The Money Club is held twice a month at The Daniel Center and each lesson is facilitated by three bank employees.

Throughout the month of August, we’ll be posting regular posts highlighting financial literacy information, including community banks who are active in their local communities’ financial literacy programs.

Have a story to share? Reach out to either Audrey Wright-Cipriano at audrey.cipriano@icba.org or Jessica Wallace at jessica.wallace@icba.org.

Parents: How to Talk to Your Kids about Money

ICBA released advice for parents on how to talk to their children about money. Some of the tips geared toward parents of elementary school students included:

  • Teachable Moments: Look for ways to turn everyday experiences into teachable moments. A routine trip to the grocery store could turn into a discussion about the importance of budgeting and how to identify wants versus needs.
  • Earning Money: How children earn their money is up to their parents, but it is important that once they’ve earned it they understand it is a limited commodity. If your child spends all his or her money and asks to borrow more from you, don’t give in and spoil a valuable lesson.
  • A Tiered Savings System: When teaching children about money, it is suggested that parents institute a tiered system that allocates money for spending, long-term goals and charity. By automatically taking 10 or 15 percent off the top of their earnings and designating it for savings, children can develop the habit of paying themselves first at a young age.

To view all of the tips and the rest of the press release, visit www.icba.org.

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?