Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Want to Make a Difference?

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Want to Make a Difference?

Article excerpt

Q An interview with Laura Fisher, who runs the ABA Education Foundation and ABA's Housing Partners Foundation

ABABJ: Financial education is nice for bankers to do. But why is it smart for them to do it as well?

Laura Fisher: It allows them to build relationships with customers they don't always see come into the branch--future customers, non-customers, parents or grandparents of children. The banks that the unbanked go to are often the ones they met through financial education. But financial education is also the right thing to do. There's more and more research pointing to the positive side effects from saving. A child with a savings account in his or her name is seven times more likely to go to college than a child without one. It helps them form a lasting college-bound identity.

ABABJ: What do you hear from bankers who have participated in the Foundation's National Teach Children to Save Day?

LF: They love the interaction with the kids and they also like being recognized in the community. One banker told of being in the grocery store and heard a child tell his mother, "That's the banker who came into school and talked about saving." A lot of bank employees don't have that opportunity for recognition.

ABABJ: What impact do you think it has on the kids?

LF: We're encouraging bankers to give the kids an incentive to make the behavioral change right away. The Foundation is running a Race to Save this year, with a goal of opening 15,000 savings accounts. Teaching kids to save is a great opportunity to teach them self-control. And self-control tends to be more important than self-confidence in terms of a person's long-term success. …

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