student bankers 1 Program Helps Texas Students Learn To Save, Not Spend

Students at George C. Clarke Elementary School take part in the Comerica Youth Savings Program. (credit: Chuck Schechner/KRLD NewsRadio 1080)

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Students in one North Texas school district are not only learning about the importance of fiscal responsibility they’re working with a local bank to become the “next generation of savers.”

Elementary students across the Fort Worth Independent School District are taking part in a program that partners them with Comerica Bank to start saving money.

The Comerica Youth Savings Program is designed to teach students the basics of financial literacy. The program is for children in kindergarten through eighth grade.

“I’m saving my money for college,” 3rd grader Juliet Mata said as she clutched her money. “My mom gave me $7 and I saved two more.”

Juliet’s mother, Paloma Mata, thinks the savings program will help her daughter now and in the future. “I hope to see a lot of savings from her and also her wanting to earn the money too by maybe doing some chores around the house.”

With students actively participating in the savings program they not only open a bank account but also make regular deposits and reconcile their bank statements. The goal is to show students how to use basic math skills to successfully perform real world tasks.

Lueretha Slack, with Comerica, was on hand for Wednesday’s event at George C. Clarke Elementary School. “The students can open an account with as little as a dollar and they can make a deposit with as little as a dollar,” she explained. “They get quarterly bank statements that are mailed to their house, with their name on it.”

As part of the Youth Savings Program Comerica branch locations will also give their student-customers a simulated experience as a bank employee. Students will learn about the responsibilities required for day-to-day bank operations by serving as simulated branch managers, tellers and customer service representatives.

“We wanted to actually make students more aware of saving as opposed to spending. We realize that the students of today are our future leaders, as well as consumers,” Slack said.

A basic lesson of the program is to teach students how to set and achieve financial goals. Students can set both short- and long-term goals and learn how they can be achieved. For example, students may learn how to save money so they can purchase something for themselves, like a bicycle or video game.

When asked if it was easy to waste money 5th grader Jonathan said “yes” and offered an example. “Like you really want something and then you spend your money on it.” After wasting his cash Jonathan said, “I feel sad because I don’t have any money.”

Once a month workers from Comerica will visit schools across the Fort Worth ISD to take deposits and open accounts. The company says the children aren’t required to have a minimum balance and their accounts incur no fees.

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