FROM THE FIELD: Banker Jr. talks financial education with Monroe Bank and Trust.
Banker Jr checked in with Jennifer Tucker, Assistant Vice President Financial Education & Marketing Outreach Officer at Monroe Bank and Trust ($1.3 billion in assets, 25 branches in southeast Michigan). Monroe Bank and Trust (MBT) launched their branded version of Banker Jr in fall 2014.
Jennifer, MBT has an amazing financial education program already. Why did you choose to add Banker Jr to this line up?
Although we have programs for all ages, we didn’t have a strong tool that younger children could take home to practice the money skills they were learning through our Partnership in Education program. We were also looking for a mobile app, one that would appeal to our young digital-savvy audience. We met Kathleen Craig at a Michigan Bankers Association conference last spring and knew this is what we needed.
How does Banker Jr fit in with your other financial education programs?
We have 30 schools involved in our Partnership in Education program, an in-school student banking program which focuses on savings and money exercises for children in kindergarten through the eighth grade. At the high school level, we provide EverFi, an interactive, web-based curriculum for high school students that includes a gaming component.
Our adult program is called MBTeach. Teachers instruct 60 minute classes on five subject matters including household budgeting, credit reports, checking accounts, first time home buying and fraud.
Through a partnership between MBT & GreenPath Financial Wellness we offer individualized financial counseling, advanced education and customized debt management plans.
Finally our Monroe County Learning Bank Network is a corporate/community collaboration featuring GED prep, certification and financial education provided in a former MBT branch.
Wow, that’s quite a line-up of programs. You must have a lot of support from within MBT for these efforts.
Yes, our CEO, executive team, and our Board of Directors are strong supporters of our financial literacy efforts. They saw the need for these kinds of efforts a long time ago. Our Partnership in Education program started in 1984. Over the years MBT has added programs that reach people in various life stages and needs of financial education.
Who was involved in the decision to add Banker Jr?
Since my role is in the marketing department, it was mostly a marketing decision. We discussed it with our President, Doug Chaffin and of course, let our IT manager give it a good review.
What did you do to launch Banker Jr at MBT?
We used our Partnership in Education program to help spread the word about Banker Jr. We sent home flyers with hundreds of children in our 30 partner schools inviting them to a Family Fun Day in October, to celebrate the program’s 25th anniversary. At the Family Fun Day, we had the Banker Jr team on hand to demonstrate and explain Banker Jr. We handed out Minecraft pigs and other fun trinkets to kids.
Did you involve your employees in testing Banker Jr?
Yes, our employees were happily our guinea pigs. We entered employees into drawings for MBT merchandise when they downloaded and tested the app.
What are you using to measure the success of Banker Jr?
The app has reports which tell us number of downloads, number of users, time spent. We enjoy watching those metrics go up. We also are using it as a tool to build awareness of MBT as we move into new schools in areas where our presence isn’t as strong. It’s exciting to share a free resource-so we can’t get the word out fast enough!
So what’s the point of Banker Jr and all these other financial literacy efforts?
Our goal is to reach kids now with an understanding of basic money management skills so that they can avoid bad decisions later in life. These programs are more than just goodwill building efforts. We believe that it is important for children to be educated about money. We’re providing children and adults with positive messages and positive role models for sound money management skills. That’s what being a community bank is all about.
About Monroe Bank and Trust:
MBT Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: MBTF), a bank holding company headquartered in Monroe, Michigan, is the parent company of Monroe Bank & Trust (“MBT”). Founded in 1858, MBT is one of the largest independently owned community banks in Southeast Michigan. With over $1.2 billion in assets, MBT is a full-service bank, offering a complete range of business and personal accounts, credit and mortgage options, investment and retirement services and award-winning financial literacy outreach. MBT employee volunteers contribute approximately 9,000 hours of community service annually. MBT’s Commercial Lending Group is a top SBA and MEDC lending partner. MBT’s Wealth Management Group (“WMG”) is one of the largest and most respected in Michigan. The Michigan Bankers Association ranks MBT fourth among all Michigan banks for total trust assets. With 25 offices, 47 ATMs, convenient mobile and online banking, a robust online and social media presence and a comprehensive array of products and services, MBT prides itself in offering World Class Banking with a Local Address. Visit MBT’s website at www.mbandt.com.