Vault Helped Me Learn about Needs vs. Wants

Today we’re featuring a guest post from Chicago student Khloe W who shares how the skills and knowledge she gained from Vault – Understanding Money™  will help her reach her goal of graduating from college and earning her doctorate. Congrats to Khloe for being one of our scholarship recipients!

Khloe W

Student: Khloe W
Teacher: Linsey Rose
School: STEM Magnet Academy
State: Illinois
Sponsor: MassMutual Foundation

Imagine standing on a tall podium, thanking your family for supporting you from undergraduate to doctorate! That is how I want to be. There are many things that this EverFi Vault has taught me that will help me accomplish [my goals]. One big accomplishment that I want to do when I grow up is go to college, and be very successful. College is very important to me because I love getting an education and learning new things. Seeing my brothers and sisters go through college, I know it can be stressful thinking about failing many times. I also know that college costs a lot. EverFi Vault has prepared me to become a successful and responsible college student through the modules.

One important thing that Vault has taught me is about the different institutions that take care of money like brokerage firms, banks and credit unions. This is important to know when I go to college because I will need a bank account, since I will be away from my parents and have my own responsibilities. Also, I will need to know about these different parts because I will need to open up savings accounts for emergencies and pay bills to help my parents with the college funds.

Knowing that college is a lot of money, Vault has also taught me to be responsible and careful with the people I share my financial information with. EverFi says that financial information is very imperative and a key to success to life. If others can get access to it, things can do bad. For example, people can hack into your account and take your name, and spend your money, and that is not good. So, we have to be mindful about the information we share to others about our financial purposes. This is important to me and my dream to go to college because the world is cruel, and people can take advantage, be manipulative, and this can be food for thought as I continue to try to accomplish my dream.

One last thing that is very important and can affect my dream is how I spend and save my money. In college, I’ve heard many stories about the students being “broke”, and having no money to live off of, or not enough to buy necessities. I do not want this to happen to me and the way I can do that is to manage my money correctly. I will make a budget and make sure to document/establish my needs and wants. This is important because some people will focus on what they want to buy to fit in and do not focus on what they need to survive or succeed. Also, I can do this by getting a debit card. EverFi Vault has taught me the difference between the two [debit cards and credit cards] and for this situation a debit card is the best decision. Knowing that I can track my balance, see transactions and transfer/send money, this can help me better manage my money and what I spend rather than using cash.

In conclusion, this is how EverFi is helping me to with accomplish my dream to go to college. Vault is a very fun and interactive game that helped me better understand real problems in the real world.

SOS: Why Your Financial Marketing Strategy Needs Saving

The internet is awash in articles about digital marketing, but many banks and credit unions are still not taking full advantage of technology to connect with customers and prospects. But today, if you are not leveraging technology to make your services as accessible as possible, you’re losing out to the competition. Let’s take a look at three important points on why financial institutions need to incorporate technology into their financial marketing strategy:

93 percent of 13-year olds check social media at least once daily. Learn why financial institutions need to incorporate digital into their financial marketing strategy.

93 percent of 13-year olds check social media at least once daily. Learn why financial institutions need to incorporate digital into their financial marketing strategy.

Consumption of technology is only increasing over time

While the millennial generation started the trend for technology usage, the following generations are rapidly outpacing them. According to a recent report, the average tween spends nine hours a day on an electronic device, and another study found that 93 percent of 13-year olds check social media at least once daily. Financial institutions that want to attract the newer generations need to be maximizing technology now.

New players are entering the financial playing field

Technology has allowed non-traditional entities to compete in the financial space. These new players often have no actual brick-and-mortar branch—instead, they offer instant access via websites and mobile apps. Consumers are already turning to these non-traditional entities to pay bills, transfer money online, and search for loans.

It’s not too late to join the digital revolution, but it soon will be. Banks and credit unions still have an advantage—trusted brand names and connections with Baby Boomers and Generation Xers who may advise their children to use the same institution. But the time to act is now. Financial institutions that ignore these new players and new technologies risk becoming irrelevant in the near future.

Financial institutions are positioned to take advantage of digital financial education

Banks and credit unions have another built-in advantage: financial education. Since brick-and-mortar financial institutions are already considered trusted sources of information, they should be leveraging this trust to offer financial education as a way to reach current and prospective customers. Programming that is highly relevant to consumers’ needs and available in real-time via a range of devices allows consumers to learn when they’re standing in line or sitting on the subway. Technology allows consumers to reach you anytime, anywhere—and your financial education should do the same.

For more information on how to leverage technology as part of your financial marketing strategy to reach new customers, download 10 Key Imperatives of Financial Digital Marketing: A Financial Services Marketing Guide for Improving Your Millennial and Consumer Engagement Strategy.

Announcing the Scholarship Contest Winners!

The Winter Scholarship Contest ended last week with a record number of student submissions. From earning their doctorates to being nautical engineers, your students shared big dreams. We loved hearing about what they’ve learned through Vault and FutureSmart, and how financial education will make a difference in their lives. Each of our five student winners earned a $1000 college savings scholarship to help make their dreams a reality. Their stories will be featured on the EverFi Blog over the coming weeks. Congratulations winners!

Khloe W, STEM Magnet Academy, Illinois

Shannon W, New Market Middle School, Maryland

Grace K, Falls Lake Academy, North Carolina

Diandra P, Giltner High School, Nebraska

Mateja C, Berlin Middle School, Wisconsin

Want to submit more stories? The Spring Scholarship Competition is now open! We will be awarding another five $1,000 college savings scholarships to students in the U.S. who complete Vault, FutureSmart, or EverFi Financial Literacy, and who provide a short reflection by April 28th. This is a great capstone project for students and allows them to reflect on what they’ve learned. Click here to learn more.

TEACHER SPOTLIGHT: Tabitha Herrin

We recently sat down with Tabitha Herrin, a teacher at Stewarts Creek Middle School in Smyrna, TN, to hear how she uses EverFi’s resources in her classroom. This is part of our Teacher Spotlight series.

Tabitha Herrin

Tabitha Herrin

What impact have EverFi’s courses had on your students?

A parent told me that a student who used EverFi Financial Literacy in my class helped his older brother with his FAFSA form! I love hearing stuff like that.

I’ve also seen the impact of Healthy Relationships and Ignition – both hone in on all of the issues of this middle school age. Students connect with the courses on a personal level and really enjoy them.

What do you like best about the programs?

They fit around my curriculum so well. Also, they are very up to date. The kids don’t think it looks like something from the 80s or 90s – it’s very engaging for them.

What is your approach to implementation?

I use a half and half method – 10 students will get on the computers and the rest of the class will go through our written curriculum. We alternate back and forth each day.

What best practices would you share with other teachers?

  • I have new students every 9 weeks, so I created a PPT that has the login info on it. I also print off a paper version of the instructions that I put at their desks. The login process happens during one class period. Because of the half and half method, students may only get on the computers twice a week, but all will cycle through. They are welcome to work on it outside the classroom as well. Their EverFi grade is their main grade. Their username & password is their login information. That way, they can remember it year after year and just add their course code for each year.
  • I planned an engagement activity for Venture (the entrepreneurship course where students create their own food truck business). I reached out to several food trucks in the area and invited them to come to the school. It was a great way to support the local food trucks and provide an additional incentive to students who completed their business plan.
  • Another activity I created is “The World’s Largest Party with Ignition.” Once students finish Ignition, they apply what they’ve learned about how to use technology by planning a party for a country of their choosing – they love it! They have to research basic facts about the country. The population of the country is the attendance; the theme of the party is the native dress; famous landmarks are the venue. Students create a PPT and do a presentation at the very end. We also bring in the food aspect, and students have to make at least one recipe for the class. It takes about 2 class periods to do. It brings in a lot of excitement, and combines many aspects of what they’ve learned in Ignition including technology and research, and it helps them learn more about different cultures and practice their presentation skills.

Do you have any advice for other teachers considering using EverFi?

Don’t be overwhelmed by all of the resources! Try it out with one class/program, or do one program for all of your grade levels until you can get familiar with it and get your lesson plans done. Once you’ve done it all the first time, EverFi makes life so much easier!! Eventually, you can get to have a course per grade level.

Anything else you’d like to share about the program?

The customer support is amazing! If I have an issue or am having problems, I send an email and my Schools Manager connects me to the tech team and they help immediately. By the end of the class period I get a response back. Having that support is great! They even partnered up with my tech specialist at the school and we figured out how to fix a problem I was having. The support is probably one of my favorite aspects.

Tabitha, thank you for your commitment to equipping students with critical life skills!

Tabitha uses Vault for 6th grade, Healthy Relationships and Ignition in 7th grade, and Venture and FutureSmart in 8th grade.

Uplift and Enlighten: Community Financial Education

For Washington Federal, giving back to the community is a vital part of their company mission. And by teaming up with EverFi, Washington Federal was able to create an outreach program that delivers community financial education to those who need it the most.

8,000 students taught. 37,000 hours trained. One underserved community reached. Learn how Washington Federal gives back with community financial education.

Download our guide, Supporting Communities Through Financial Education, to learn more.

Individual employees play a key role in the bank’s outreach program, as they have first-hand knowledge of what the needs in their own communities are. EverFi makes it easy for employees to volunteer by setting up visits and providing learning modules tailored to specific demographics—whether it be seniors, low-income families, or college students. As Ann Hall, vice president of community relations, puts it, “EverFi takes care of so much, so that we can go out and do what we do best: help our community improve their financial decision making – especially with those who need it most.”

Washington Federal knows that it is also critical to reach the next generation, so EverFi helped the bank launch the Washington Federal Financial Scholars Program, which offers online financial education programming to schools at no cost. To date, the program has reached more than 8,000 students who have completed more than 37,000 hours of training. And the work is clearly paying off—at the end of the program, students showed an average improvement of 87 percent in financial knowledge.

With the ability to provide accessible, high-quality online financial education through their partnership with EverFi, Washington Federal now has the freedom to focus on what’s most important: helping the most vulnerable members of their communities improve their financial wellness.

To learn more about how EverFi can help your institution create a successful and meaningful community financial education program, request a free demo.

How to Use Education as a Financial Millennial Marketing Magnet

As millennials move up the career ladder and begin making investments, attracting them as new customers has become critical for the health of banks and credit unions. But wooing this elusive demographic remains a challenge. For financial institutions, offering digital financial education and mobile-accessible services are the keys to a successful financial millennial marketing strategy. Here’s how and why:

Wooing the elusive millennial remains a challenge for financial institutions. Download our guide, 10 Key Imperatives of Financial Digital Marketing, to learn why education as financial millennial marketing can help, and how.

Wooing the elusive millennial remains a challenge for financial institutions. Download our guide, 10 Key Imperatives of Financial Digital Marketing, to learn why education as financial millennial marketing can help, and how.

Millennials expect their banks to be digital and mobile

For this digitally savvy generation, being able to access information on-demand is crucial. According to a recent FICO survey, 63 percent of millennials already use mobile banking apps. If you’re not providing a seamless digital and mobile experience, millennials will find a financial institution that is.

Millennials want and seek financial education

Compared to other demographics, millennials are 24 percent more likely to consider financial education an important feature of a financial institution. Given that research also shows that millennials have less financial knowledge than other generations, on-demand financial education, available through a variety of devices, is a cornerstone of any financial institution marketing strategy.

Making your institution mobile-friendly also helps attract other demographics

Although they are leading the charge, millennials are not the only ones using technology. As an added bonus, making more of your financial institution’s services digital and mobile-friendly will also help attract other demographics. According to an EverFi study, 1 in 5 parents expect that banks will help teach their children about money; increasing that number will expand your financial institutions’ role in families’ lives, building cross-generational loyalty.

For more information on how to optimize your financial millennial marketing strategy through technology, download our free white paper, 10 Key Imperatives of Financial Digital Marketing.

How Your Bank Can Improve Family Financial Wellness

Recent research from EverFi has revealed significant gaps in family financial capability in the United States, with only 43 percent of all parents reporting that they feel prepared to talk about finances with their children. Fortunately, as trusted sources of financial information, banks and credit unions are perfectly positioned to help families fill these financial literacy gaps. Here are five ways your bank can make a difference.

Only 43 percent of parents feel prepared to talk about finances with their kids. Learn 5 ways financial institutions can foster family financial wellness.

Only 43 percent of parents feel prepared to talk about finances with their kids. Learn 5 ways financial institutions can foster family financial wellness.

Provide resources for financial education

Ideally, the financial education you provide should cover three audiences: children, adults, and parents talking to children. Make sure these resources are available as an unbiased set of resources and resist the urge to sell to your customers.

Make these resources readily available

In addition to offering financial education to your loyal customers, your bank should also make your resources readily available and searchable on your website for new prospects.

Educate employees

Your employees are on the front lines of meeting with customers, so making their personal financial education an on-going process ensures your customers are getting the best engagement and information possible.

Embrace banking for kids

Along with offering financial education for kids, your bank can also promote entry-level accounts for young people interested in learning financial capability on a small scale. This allows kids to practice working with financial institutions and learning about money—early on.

Support financial education in schools

School-based financial education can make a big difference in improving financial capability. By supporting and promoting these programs, your financial institution can increase accessibility to education for underbanked communities—and also help to fulfill your CRA requirement.

 

For more information on EverFi’s research into family financial wellness, and how financial institutions can get involved, download our free white paper, 5 Strategies Every Bank Can Use to Improve Family Financial Capability, here.

EverFi and BB&T Congratulate Winners of the 2016-2017 BB&T Student Blog Contest

screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-2-24-20-pmThis past winter break, BB&T and EverFi selected and recognized four winners of the 2016-17 BB&T LEGACY: A Leadership Challenge blog contest. Students from over 800 high schools that participated in BB&T Financial Foundations program in Fall 2016 were eligible to enter. After completing the BB&T Financial Foundations program, students had the opportunity to download and play LEGACY: A BB&T Leadership Challenge, BB&T’s digital leadership app. Students were then invited to answer one of three questions that asked them to reflect, analyze and share their thoughts and opinions on leadership. Winners were selected based on their ability to effectively convey their thoughts, quality of their writing and their originality. All four winners demonstrated impressive understanding of what it means to be a leader.

Raven, a student at Wakefield High School in North Carolina wrote about the relationship between a leader and his or her community:

“I learned new tactics to be an effective leader in the community such as exercising patience, asking questions to understand the needs of the people, and allowing individuals to make their own decisions with the information provided. An individual’s approach to these methods could add or subtract from their legacy. An effective leader is not merely knowledgeable, but open to receiving help from others in the community. Legacy highlights the power of combining ideas to create a better society. In the interactive game, a single individual’s passion for construction allows for the dreams of his neighbors to come to fruition. Everyone’s unique talents can be utilized for the benefit of the community while providing them with a rewarding livelihood.”

Lyric, a student at North Springs High School in Georgia shared how LEGACY allowed her to recognize a leader in her life:

Teacher Ms. Daniel presents winning student Lyric with her award.

“After completing the leadership challenge, I realized I have a lot of inspirational leaders in my life. The one I will describe is my teacher, Ms. Kimberly Daniel. The app showed me that leaders have a lot of quality characteristics, but I believe the most important three are patience, decisiveness, and persistence….After seeing her coach my team and all of our different personalities, I saw all the patience she had. In basketball you have to choose your team with confidence and know which players work well with one another. Coach always knew who to put in and when in order for our team to be successful. Lastly, I can honestly say she has mastered the consistent component of her leadership qualities. Even though she doesn’t coach anymore, she still faithfully comes to my games and tells me constantly what I can do to be better and play at the next level.”

 

 

Celia, a student at Echols County High School in Georgia talked about an inspiring leader in her life:

“Coach Ade looks like a human hulk. He was intimidating to say the least. He is the leader that everyone wants to know. He doesn’t dictate your every move. He is patient and ready to lend a hand. However, those traits are not what makes Coach Ade the leader Legacy taught me about. Coach Ade is special because he knows my boundaries better than I do. He makes sure I understand that being able to come back tomorrow, painless and without a cane is the goal. However, we still celebrate tiny gains. I don’t complain when I feel pain, but Coach Ade still knows when I’m hurting. He will always respond with a question, which makes me really consider what I am doing. Coach Ade is positive and never gives in to me wanting to push past my abilities. Upon completing Legacy, I realized how much Coach Ade resembled the character I played. He is an uplifting soul, who puts his athletes before his self. He has shown me that I can be capable and still keep within my boundaries. Throughout Legacy, many characters were crowned Victorious People. Legacy needs another Victorious person. His name is Coach Ade and he is my leader.”

Peter Okolocha,  a student from Meadowcreek High School in Georgia described what he believes makes and defines a leader:

Winning student Peter with his teacher and family.

Winning student Peter with his teacher and family.

“Leaders are not born but are made by their experiences, successes and failures. Ideally, a leader is an individual that has built up their credibility, empathy, and excellent communication and decision-making skills. Credibility is one of the major foundations of being a leader. Credible leaders are often consistent and reliable in their thoughts, beliefs, and behavior. They are steadfast in their choices and refuse to reversing decisions…Leaders are often perceived as assuring, confident, and motivational individuals that contribute a lot to their environment and workplace. They elicit the best in people around them. They learn from their mistakes and failures in order to strive for something better. Legacy: A BB&T leadership app has been and still is a valuable asset in analyzing attributes and skills tied to being a leader and how to become one of the best.”

Congratulations our four winners, who each received a $500 gift card, their teachers who received a $250 gift card and to their schools.  

 

10 Tips to Improve CRA Performance in the New Year

Staying compliant with the Community Reinvestment Act is crucial to the health and success of all banks. But why stop at simply meeting a standard when exceeding requirements can benefit your institution from a business perspective? By improving your CRA performance, you not only remain compliant, but can also take advantage of a growth opportunity in the new year.

10 Tips to Improve CRA Performance in the New Year

Download EverFi’s guide: 10 Big Ideas to Improve Your CRA Outcomes

Here are 10 tips for better CRA performance in 2017:

  • Stay ahead of the curve. Standards for complying with the CRA are going up, so now is the time to position yourself to exceed expectations.
  • Prioritize financial education. Investing in financial education for students and adults—especially underbanked communities—can have a big return for financial institutions by bringing in new customers and creating additional customer loyalty.
  • Make sure you measure. You want to be able to prove your initiatives are working. Setting measurable outcomes is the best way to do this—and it makes it easy for your CRA evaluator, as well.  
  • Interact. Use technology to engage with your target audiences—anywhere, and any time—through various mediums, including videos, games, apps, and others.
  • Test before and after. To determine if your education initiatives are effective, test participants’ financial literacy both before and after each course. This also makes it easy to demonstrate success to your CRA evaluator.  
  • Gather valuable data. Make sure the data from your measurable outcomes and results is readily available for when regulators ask. The more information, the better.
  • Don’t be afraid to go digital. Investing in online courses allows you to reach many more learners at a lower cost—anywhere, any time. Not only is interactive online financial education more scalable than classroom education, but it also has a higher return on investment.
  • Don’t wait. Making improvements to your CRA program now means you won’t have to scramble after receiving a “Needs Improvement” rating.
  • Maximize your return. Giving back to the community through effective financial education programs also creates brand loyalty and attracts new customers—that way, everyone wins.

Technology has made it easier than ever before to reach new audiences and to measure program effectiveness. Learn more about how EverFi can help you with CRA performance by downloading EverFi’s guide, 10 Big Ideas to Improve Your CRA Outcomes.

UKFCU: Boosting Member Financial Wellness with Digital Financial Education

As a member-owned financial cooperative, the University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union has an especially vested interest in their members’ financial decision making. Understanding that financial education technology could make a big difference for their members, they tapped into EverFi’s expertise to design digital financial education courses and implement a large-scale outreach initiative.

How the U. of Kentucky Credit Union launched an incentivized digital financial education program that boosted engagement and promoted auto loan sales.

Download EverFi’s case study, Driving Member Wellness Through Online Education: The University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union

With EverFi’s digital financial education training modules, the University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union was able to offer accessible financial education without taxing their limited staff resources. And, as an incentive for members to participate, they decided to offer a quarter-point interest rate discount on a new auto loan for any member who completed four training modules. This reward not only boosted participation, but it also had the added bonus of helping to promote auto loan sales.

The program proved to be hugely successful, with more than a third of the visitors to the credit union’s website taking time to engage with the auto loan discount program. Among members who registered for the program, 87 percent completed at least one module, with 37 percent completing the entire program.

The online education content has also helped the University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union improve their digital presence and connect with hard-to-reach millennial members. Thanks to their partnership with EverFi, they’ve found a solution to member financial wellness where truly everyone wins.

To learn more about how the University of Kentucky improved member financial wellness and their digital financial marketing strategy with EverFi, read Driving Member Wellness Through Online Education: The University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union.