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Money Smart

Money Smart Newsletter

September 2021 Success Stories

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Last Updated: April 20, 2022

Success Story: Approaches to Engage Young People

This edition, we look at three approaches to engage young people. One includes a requirement for students to write essays after their training. Another involves recorded videos. The third involves delivery to summer camp participants.

In Indianapolis, Merchants Bank of Indiana has worked in partnership with Providence Cristo Rey High School for several years. This high school focuses on preparing students from families with limited financial resources for college and the workforce. Since 2018, the bank has provided an internship opportunity for students to spend time working at the bank and learning retail and lending operations. The bank expanded the partnership in 2020 through a virtual training series for the interns and other students at the school. Staff from the bank conducted eight weekly one-hour sessions. The bank customized the Money Smart for Young People and Money Smart for Young Adults products to the needs of the audience for these sessions.

Carol E. Gassen, Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer for the bank, shared some approaches used to keep the training engaging. They developed subject-matter polling questions, which the students answered throughout each session and encouraged anonymous questions from the students using the chat feature. They also established a familiar person as the moderator for the students to connect to since they had a different instructor for each of the eight sessions.

The students had to prepare an essay at the end of the course explaining what they learned and how they plan to apply it to their financial life. Essays needed to be 500 words or less and address each of three key points:

  1. How to pay for estimated educational expenses
  2. How to keep student loan debt to a minimum
  3. How the cost of education compares to the projected earnings of the chosen field of study

Bank staff judged the essays and the winner received special recognition. “The students were engaged with questions throughout the series,” added Gassen. “The essay requirement gave students the opportunity to use critical thinking to apply the Money Smart training to their personal lives,” added Luke W. Reynolds, Chief of Outreach and Program Development at the FDIC.

Gassen shared some ways that students plan to apply the lessons to their financial lives, which include:

  • Better understanding of basic banking terms and building on financial capability;
  • Setting financial goals, including college decisions and how to pay for it; and
  • Planning for the future based on future potential salary.

In Hammond, Louisiana, First Guaranty Bank developed videos to engage elementary school students. The videos were based on the Money Smart for Young People curriculum. Casie N. Qualls, Compliance Learning and Development Specialist, shared that: “We published the videos and handouts on our website and offered participants, who are unable to print the packet at home, the option of picking up a packet at one of our many branches.” She added that the bank shared the videos with local libraries. “We are tracking the visitors to our web page, and we are happy to say that since creation in March of this year, 508 people have visited the page and our most watched video has reported 217 views.”

The bank also engaged 4-6 year old students at a local summer camp. The materials were delivered in-person through five, 30-minute segment sessions. “The students were so excited to bring their savings knowledge home to their families. I’ve since seen one student and his mother at a local grocer. She was happy to share that her son came home each night with new savings tips and tricks and eventually savings goals for their family. She said he helps with the grocery budget and put back his favorite chips to help them save for school supplies.” Qualls added, “Our bank loves using the Money Smart program- it works!”

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