The idea is unusual, but for Liberty Bank a return to its core roots.
The Chicago-area community bank, which started in the basement of a church as a savings and loan 117 years ago, has started a series of free webinars to give people guidance to free themselves from debt.
"We think this underscores our original mission," Kevin Tynan, Liberty's senior vice president of savings, said.
The bank started these webinars with a free session last month on how to get out of student debt, a growing problem. After advertising the session with colleges, Liberty had about 75 participants. The bank chose to start with student debt because, "We're in one of the hippest parts of the city," Tynan said. "Not that we're hip."
"Banks don't have a lot of webinars," said Tynan, adding that Liberty saw it as a way to advertise and bring in more millennial and generation X customers. "It's a way for us to differentiate from the big banks," he said, before adding, "There's a lot of apprehension amongst millennials about big banks."
Liberty continues its get-out-of-debt webinar series later this month with a May 20 webinar on consumer debt. The webinar will be led by Laura La Belle, a certified financial planner and 'money coach.' Tynan emphasized that the bank wanted to bring in outside voices so it didn't appear as though it was simply pushing a product. The bank has two more webinars scheduled, one on pre-retirement planning and another on student debt.