This is a recap of a webinar that occurred on July 31st.
EVERFI works with more than 700 partners to bring financial education to students throughout the US and beyond. In less than three years of partnership, 1st Bank Yuma’s financial education program—which spans K-8, high school, and collegiate learners—has quickly become one of the most prosperous in terms of reach and outcome. Not only has the program already impacted more than 10,000 students across Arizona’s southern Yuma and Santa Cruz counties and received avid endorsement from parents and district-leaders but, as a byproduct, the bank has gained a boost in business.
In a July webinar, EVERFI’s Bria Barker (Director of Financial Education) and 1st Bank Yuma’s Jeff Byrd (AVP/Community Relations) discuss how to build a thriving and expansive financial education program and why community banks should strive to do so.
3 Best Practices for a Strong Financial Education Tool
Successful financial education programs comprise actionable learning, personalized experiences, engaging content and data-driven results
1. Emphasis & Focus on Outcomes
Turnkey data-collection through built-in assessments and surveys is at the core of any robust financial education program today. Leverage data to measure the effectiveness of your initiative in terms of student reach, knowledge growth and changed behaviors surrounding finances and to share those outcomes with the community, bank decision-makers, and CRA officers as desired.
2. Invest in Ongoing Touchpoints
The most successful program is not a one-sitting activity. Develop a periodic rollout throughout each school year to reinforce topics and firmly establish your presence with students. Commit to multiple school years to assure district decision-makers that this is an ongoing community partnership
3. Provide an Engaging Experience
Create a multifaceted learning experience for today’s Gen Z students with quick and compelling content delivered both on and offline; such as, interactive learning modules, bank tours, classroom Q&A’s, certification ceremonies, and hosting financial games with prizes (1st Bank Yuma says gold dollars are a hit with the younger kids).
4 Lessons of a Successful Community Bank Financial Education Program
1. A Designated Point-Person goes a Long Way
The strongest financial education programs have backing from the top. When company leadership prioritizes the initiative and designates a point-person to spearhead it, it has the greatest chance of success. With support and adequate resources, this employee can develop the right program and partnerships, build relationships with local teachers and superintendents, and cultivate a valuable program throughout the community.
2. Program Visibility
Launching a meaningful community venture is newsworthy and an experienced financial education partner can help your business identify opportunities to increase awareness. These stories can not only serve as good PR for your bank and local school districts but potentially increase the momentum of your work and lead to wider adoption of your program.
3. Kids Actually Talk to their Parents
1st Bank Yuma found that their web-based program quickly percolated throughout the community as students were logging in from home and sharing the experience with their parents. Finance is a tough subject to address within families and a digital component can help kickstart that conversation. The bank’s CEO regularly got approached by parents, thanking the bank for the initiative. In fact, many adults in this country lack financial capability themselves and 1st Bank Yuma encouraged students to share their logins with their parents, so they could learn, too.
4. Communities Appreciate & Reward Corporate Citizenship
Through press coverage and word of mouth, community members notice when you reinvest in them. 1st Bank Yuma developed a reputation as a good corporate citizen and go-to community resource. The Chamber of Commerce’s annual Education Appreciation ceremony awarded 1st Bank Yuma with the “Business Benefactor” award twice in the last three years. Local nonprofits (e.g. Goodwill, Boys & Girls Clubs of America) and for-profits (e.g. hospitals, the bar association) often invited the bank to give presentations on relevant financial topics. A biproduct of this was a boost in business: individuals and businesses were more compelled to work with a socially responsible company.