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Money Smart News Success Stories – Summer/ Fall 2019

How a Group of Community Banks Uses Money Smart to Teach Financial Education

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Wintrust Financial Corporation, a Chicago-based group of community banks, has been using the FDIC’s Money Smart products since 2012. Team members have provided one-on-one training and taught classes using the Money Smart financial education curriculums for adults, young people (Pre-K to 8th Grade), small businesses, young adults, and older adults. During 2018, Wintrust conducted more than 1,000 training sessions using Money Smart.

Casandra Slade, Wintrust’s Senior Vice President for Community Development/CRA, said that the Money Smart curriculum has been used “in various ways, including with Chambers of Commerce, schools, churches, nonprofit organizations of all sizes, government programs, one-on-one workshops at the Wintrust branches, employer bank-at-work programs, small business development centers, senior living facilities, libraries and food pantries.”

Slade also highlighted Wintrust’s work with various government offices to help them deliver financial education to specific audiences. “For example,” she said, “we’ve worked with the city of North Chicago to deliver financial education to participants in their Summer Youth Program, and in partnership with the Rolling Meadows Police Department Social Services Division.” 

In January of this year, Slade requested that the FDIC provide a train-the-trainer workshop for new members of her team who had not received formal guidance on using the Money Smart program.  As a result, the FDIC’s Chicago Community Affairs team received a warm welcome as they trained more than 45 bankers from around Wintrust’s Midwestern footprint, and these new trainers have begun teaching the updated curriculum.

Slade mentioned that the bank’s employees especially liked teaching from Module 1 (Your Money Values and Influences), Module 6 (Credit Reports and Scores), Module 8 (Managing Debt), and Module 12 (Making Housing Decisions).  She also mentioned that the updated curriculum is easier to use and more applicable to life situations.

Slade offered these tips for how financial institutions can successfully use Money Smart:

FDIC staff also added a final tip: take time to reflect on what went well and what could be improved next time.   

Please consider sending a few words on your Money Smart financial education sessions to so that we can consider highlighting your programs in a future edition of this newsletter. Please include any tips you may have based on your use of the material. Pictures (ideally ones that don’t show participants’ faces) are also welcome.

See more success stories from Money Smart News.

For help or information on how to use the Money Smart curriculum, contact

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