FDIC Youth Savings Account Pilot Program
The FDIC's Youth Savings Pilot Program seeks to identify and highlight promising approaches to offering financial education tied to the opening of safe, low-cost savings accounts to school-aged children.
Overview of the Pilot
Financial education and school-based savings programs introduce young people to financial services at an early age, while helping youth learn how to more effectively manage their money. These and similar youth savings programs not only encourage the development of savings habits at a formative age, but also have the potential to promote economic inclusion for entire families. A recent report issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury found that having a bank account both intensified the effect of financial education instruction for students, and in schools where there was a branch of a federally insured financial institution, students had more positive attitudes towards banks and were more likely to have a bank account.
Financial institutions that participate in youth savings programs traditionally do so to build relationships for the long-term that can potentially be profitable in future years. Institutions that participate in these programs sometimes also:
- Receive positive consideration under the Community Reinvestment Act, as qualifying community development services include establishing school savings programs and developing or teaching financial literacy curricula for low- and moderate-income individuals (Reference: Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Community Reinvestment; http://www.ffiec.gov/cra/qnadoc.htm).
- Create positive community goodwill.
- Expand potential business opportunities.
Many banks report having relationships with schools to offer financial education and to offer options to open savings accounts; however, some banks have questions on how to best support youth savings and financial education, and there is limited information on successful bank-school partnerships to make a positive impact in an efficient and effective manner.
To identify and highlight best practices in this area, the FDIC has launched the Youth Savings Pilot to learn from school-based savings and financial education programs. The pilot may heighten awareness and understanding of how youth savings work can effectively be carried out consistent with Customer Identification Program (CIP) requirements and other regulatory expectations.
We expect to select between five and 30 FDIC-insured financial institutions that are working to increase youth savings. The institution should be working in partnership with a school. Either the school should offer financial education, or it should collaborate with a nonprofit organization to provide financial education.
There are two phases in this pilot.
- The first phase covers existing partnerships between institutions and schools that are in place during the 2014-15 school year. We will collect summary information from pilot participants during the 2014-15 school year and 2015-16 school year. The following Banks have been selected for the first phase:
- First Metro Bank, Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
- Treynor State Bank, Treynor, Iowa.
- Bank of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii.
- Montecito Bank & Trust, Santa Barbara, California.
- Athol Savings Bank, Athol, Massachusetts.
- Capital One, NA, McLean, Virginia.
- First Bank of Highland Park, Highland Park, Illinois.
- Young Americans Bank, Denver, Colorado.
- Wesbanco Bank, Inc., Wheeling, West Virginia.
- The second phase is expected to target new programs and partnerships planned for the 2015-16 school year. A call for expressions of interest for the second phase will be issued in April of 2015.
In the fall of 2016, the FDIC plans to issue a final report to communicate lessons learned from the pilot and offer a blueprint and best practices for banks to work with schools or other organizations to combine financial education with access to a savings account.
Reasons to Consider Participating
FDIC staff can help pilot participants troubleshoot implementation challenges. Staff can provide technical assistance and can connect pilot participants to enable them to learn from one another. Staff also will offer participants workshops to introduce and support the use of new Money Smart resources for students, parents, and teachers that the FDIC is developing in collaboration with the CFPB.
During the pilot, we plan to collect basic information from pilot participants over two school years to document innovative practices and assess success of the initiative. Institutions participating in the pilot will be asked to send a summary in December 2014 covering experiences during the fall semester, and then at the start, at the midpoint, and at the end of subsequent semesters during the pilot period.
This data would include, for example, the number of accounts opened, the average saved in the accounts, indications on whether the youth accounts helped the institution establish account relationships with the parents, the on-boarding process for the accounts, the financial education strategy used and its reception, the longevity of account relationships, whether banks felt satisfied with their work with the school, and whether the bank’s expectations were met.
Data will be collected as an aggregate average from each institution. We also will likely communicate with the bankers participating in the pilot, and possibly school representatives, to learn more about their experiences.
Minimum qualifications to participate
Institutions must meet the following criteria to participate in the first phase of the pilot:
- The institution must be an FDIC-insured bank that is working with a school, school district, or other non-profit organization that serves youth under age 18 to carry out a program during the 2014-2015 school year whereby young people could open a savings account at the FDIC-insured institution.
- The youth who are obtaining banking services through the program should receive financial education either through the bank’s efforts or as part of the school’s curriculum.
- The FDIC-insured institution must have been in operation for more than three years;
- The FDIC-insured institution should currently have a CRA rating of Satisfactory or better, and a composite “1” or “2” rating on its most recent Safety and Soundness and Compliance examinations, but a “3” rated institution may be considered on a case by case basis.
The FDIC expects to select banks using an array of approaches for accomplishing the objective of helping young people access savings accounts. In particular, the FDIC will place particular emphasis on these elements when selecting the qualifying institutions to participate in the pilot:
- The degree to which savings accounts offered through the pilot meet the essential criteria of the FDIC Model Safe Accounts Template, particularly as it relates to the minimum amount needed to open deposit accounts.
- The degree to which the program is focused on youth from families that are more likely to be unbanked, underbanked, or low- or moderate-income (to the extent that the data is available).
- Approaches that encourage or otherwise reward positive savings by young people.
- A customer onboarding process that presents minimal barriers to opening accounts for young people yet is consistent with regulatory expectations.
- The degree to which relevant and timely financial education is delivered to youth participating in the program.
How to Participate
A call for expressions of interest for the second phase will be issued in April of 2015.
Additional resources that may be helpful for institutions and their partners working with youth savings programs are available.