Litchfield National Bank is readying a mobile app designed to educate young children about money. The Illinois community bank is taking a big step beyond its past outreach practices, such as distributing coloring books.
"It's a really cool app to have. Everyone is playing games with their mobile devices," says Mike Fleming, president and chief executive of Litchfield National Bank. "[It's] a good way for kids to learn about money."
The forthcoming app, called Banker Jr., includes a digital register and games meant to teach children to set up financial goals and learn about currency, among other things. The app doesn't collect any identity information.
The bank, which is testing the app internally, expects to roll out Banker Jr. to customers in early September. Litchfield also plans to distribute the bank-branded app to local elementary schools. A teacher could project the app's interface onto a whiteboard to help illustrate a lesson, he says.
That's a departure from years past. Previously, Fleming might come into a classroom to speak and hand out coloring books to the students. "This is a new way to get in front of children," he says. "We try to be a family friendly bank and support kids in the community."
HT Mobile Apps, a Michigan startup run by a banker, sells Banker Jr. to financial institutions. Litchfield National Bank is the startup's first client.
"It's a win win. We agreed to be in it together," Fleming says. We get to be first, [HT Mobile Apps] gets to have a client and someone has to take the first leap. We're it."