Have you thought about adopting a local college?
I dont mean sticking your name on one as with a football bowl game you wouldnt want to see something like First National Banks Schmidlap City Community College but creating partnerships that could help you and the school.
Arranging bank visits by finance or economics classes. The students could learn things they most likely couldnt learn in textbooks or in the classroom and get a break from the classroom in the bargain and you could see both your work and your workplace from a different perspective.
Arranging visits for finance professors and lecturers. This would have the same types of mutual benefits.
Offering summer or in-semester internships. Students could get real-world professional experience and you could put the student-employees on tasks that your regular staff has too little time to handle. You could also get a good look at someone who could go on to become a full-time employee, and you would already have a working relationship.
Developing seminars on topics such as investments, the economy, and personal finance that the school could add to its outreach program.
Holding seminars for the community featuring professors chosen by the students as the best speakers on any range of topics that the school has to offer. This is a great way for the college to showcase itself and for the bank to generate goodwill and publicity.
Setting up an annual dinner for the top students and their teachers. Too many schools make a big deal out of honoring athletic achievement; why not recognize academic achievement just as conspicuously?
Establishing a scholarship to be awarded once a year, possibly but not necessarily to someone majoring in finance.
I think youd have a hard time finding a college that would turn down such programs, but you should be warned that the school would probably be unwilling to give you an exclusive franchise.
And you should be warned that such a relationship can go too far. I had a friend who worked at a bank in a community where he also was a pro bono treasurer for a college that was in deep trouble financially. He would write payroll checks as the schools treasurer and then, wearing his school-banker hat, bounce them.
But thats a worst-case situation. Adopting a college is generally win-win for the school and bank alike.
Mr. Nadler, an American Banker contributing editor, is a professor of finance at Rutgers University Graduate School of Management in Newark, N.J.