From inner cities to the suburbs, community bankers across the country are donating time and energy to teach youngsters the importance of money.
Students in a marketing class at Glen Cove High School on Long Island are working with the marketing department of First National Bank of Long Island to develop various projects for the bank. They have designed a seed packet holder with the bank's logo on it, which is given out free to customers.
In Harlem and Brooklyn, nearly three dozen members of the Urban Bankers Coalition Inc. of New York, a member of the National Association of Urban Bankers, are teaching high school students the importance of having a checking and savings account, as well as good credit. They are also teaching them the interviewing skills they will need to get their first job in banking. The schools are Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem and George Wingate High School in Brooklyn.
'Dragon Bank' for Kids
And in the Washington suburbs of Virginia, Patriot National Bank has set up a bank within South Lake High School, and one in an elementary school called the Dragon Bank.
"This is another way that we are reaching out to the community," said Carroll C. Markley, president and chief executive officer of Patriot National Bank.
In recent years, bankers have come under more pressure to give something back to their communities. Teaching students is not only a good way to show customers that the institution cares, but it is also a way to give something back to the younger generation.
Richard T. Greene, president of the $301.3 million-asset Carver Federal Savings Bank, based in Harlem, said there is no higher priority then to educated young people.
"Carver is continually involved in programs with churches and schools," he said. "We do encourage members of our staff to participate in outside activities and programs which benefit the people of our communities."
Carver Federal last month presented checks totaling $29,250 in scholarships to New York City and Long Island students who are beginning or continuing college studies in the 1994-95 school year.
Meanwhile, the $$215.4 million-asset First National Bank of Olathe, Kan., has a program called "Moola Moola and Money Minders." It is designed to encourage youngsters 12 and under to participate in a savers' club, said Nancy Hooker, assistant cashier with the bank.
First National offers special accounts and contributes the first dollar. The young savers make their deposits on Saturday morning at the Olathe bank.
Bank of Benton, Ky., has a growing business education partnership with the local high school.
It has set up student-run bank at Marshall County High School run by 12 to 15 students and teachers.
"It is imperative that we form a strong educational partnership with our school system," said Frank Nichols, president of Benton Bank.
City National Bank of New Jersey, Newark, is involved in Rigorous Educational Assistance for Deserving Youth program for inner-city kids, a venture between the bank and the Amerlior Foundation.
The foundation recently invested $300,000 in capital for Ready Grant, in which some 650 inner-city kids are now shareholders in City National.
Under the program, the $300,000 provides the new shareholders with $500 worth of stock that will earn 6% interest.
To receive the stock, students must graduate from high school. At that time, they can keep the shares or sell them at market value.
Several officers of the bank are helping the kids as mentors, paving the way for a future in finance or another field.
Corby R. Ellis-Mare, head of marketing and public relations at City, said the bank is exploring ways to develop a more structured program to educate other Ready participants about various bank functions.
City has even found summer jobs for some of the Ready participants who are interested in banking as a career.