Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Bankers Go Back to School. (ABA President's Position)

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Bankers Go Back to School. (ABA President's Position)

Article excerpt

ON APRIL 18, SEVERAL THOUSAND bankers across the country took time out of their workdays to visit school classrooms and teach kids how to be smarter earners, spenders and savers.

The day was "National Teach Children to Save Day," an annual event--sponsored by the ABA Education Foundation--to help fill a troubling gap in the nation's school curricula. Few of our schools bother to address personal finance, saving and investment, yet these bedrock issues are basic to building a successful life. Bankers have had to step in.

Why start in the schools? Many bad financial habits exhibited by today's adults--from running up charges on near-capacity credit cards to forgetting to put enough aside for the future--are rooted in our early training. Even the growth in bankruptcies--1.49 million in 2001, a new record--possibly reflects lifelong patterns of many Americans' failure to manage their money resources.

A once-a-year event like National Teach Children to Save Day can't reverse these trends; however, the day draws attention to the importance of learning money-management skills at an early age.

I spent National Teach Children to Save Day visiting Garfield Elementary School, in Kansas City, Mo. Fifth graders at Garfield are participating in a Bank-In-School program sponsored by Central Bank of Kansas City, a community bank.

Some of Garfield's students have lived in the U.S. just a couple of years, and come originally from Somalia, Kenya, the Philippines and other countries. "Everything we do is an eye-opener for many of our students, and banking is one of those things that is very foreign to them," fifth-grade teacher Marilyn Cherne told the Kansas City Star.

The in-school bank program began when our state's former treasurer, and now governor, Bob Holden, challenged bankers to work with their local schools to teach the importance of saving. …

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