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A Banker in Every Classroom: Financial Literacy for Mississippi’s Youth

Banker with kids in a classroom

Mississippi Bankers Association’s (MBA) “A Banker in Every Classroom” initiative is geared toward educating Mississippi’s youth on financial literacy topics. Learn more about how this program teaches students personal finance, smart money management and more.

Cadence Bank’s teammates promoted financial literacy in K-12-grade classrooms across Mississippi as part of the Mississippi Bankers Association’s (MBA) “A Banker in Every Classroom”.

Through the annual program, banks across Mississippi acknowledge the crucial need to educate the state’s youth on financial literacy, personal finance and smart money management.

The program, which was established in 2011, has reached more than 150,000 K-12 students statewide by establishing partnerships between local teachers and bankers. As a financial institution serving residents across nine states, including Mississippi, Cadence Bank is proud to be associated with MBA’s program. In 2022, Cadence Bank impacted 514 students during the week of the “Banker in Every Classroom” campaign.

“Cadence Bank really stepped up in this year's “A Banker in Every Classroom” initiative,” said Gordon Fellows, President and CEO of the Mississippi Bankers Association. “They volunteered to help fill in the gaps to ensure that classrooms all over the state received in-person lessons. We appreciated their embracing the statewide nature of this program.”

The importance of teaching Mississippi’s youth personal finance

Studies show that financial literacy and personal finance are America’s youth. Nearly 75% of teens lack confidence in their knowledge of personal finance, according to a survey conducted by Greenlight, a fintech company with the goal of helping parents raise financially smart kids. Additionally, a WalletHub study found that Mississippi falls in the lower half of financially literate states in the United States.

"When you look at initiatives like “A Banker in Every Classroom,” this is an excellent and ideal opportunity to start introducing financial concepts, financial literacy and financial empowerment, which impact youth for the rest of their lives. If you get the chance to introduce these good practices and financial knowledge at an early age, you can continue to reinforce it throughout that very formative time," said Martie North, SVP of Community Development and Engagement, Emerging Markets at Cadence Bank.

“The purpose of this program is to have multiple dividends—creating informed consumers who can make the best consumer decisions for themselves throughout their lifetimes. They can also help influence and educate their friends and family," North added.

With financial education at the heart of the program, bankers and teachers decide which materials are appropriate for specific presentations and ages.

"The first step is making sure we support initiatives that empower and educate our youth and emerging young adults with accurate information. This is a wonderful way for us to connect within our local communities," North stated.

“A Banker in Every Classroom” helps build a community

While education is at the core of the program, community involvement and outreach are also important elements of the program. "We have a diverse team that cares about the community in which they live and operate,” says North. “They want to be involved in strengthening their communities, and financial literacy is a meaningful way we can do so, especially with our knowledge and expertise."

How “A Banker in Every Classroom” works

The program generally operates during the first week of November, and it has been that way for more than a decade. In fact, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves officially proclaimed it as Banker in Every Classroom Week. He encourages teachers, bankers and all residents of Mississippi to join this initiative to support financial education for all students in the state.

There are a lot of moving parts to get this week perfect for the schools participating in this program. With the MBA serving as a matchmaker for this initiative, teachers or classroom educators fill out a registration form to participate and bankers also register with the MBA to volunteer to visit a classroom in their area.

The MBA then matches bankers and educators and can help arrange date(s) for presentation(s). Bankers can decide whether to visit more than one school and make more than one presentation.

"The link that MBA creates in the community to introduce the banker to the educator, and the educator to the banker, works particularly well," says North. "It gives us the opportunity to meet the educators and form relationships that can last for years and years."

How financial literacy topics are taught throughout week

The MBA provides age-appropriate materials on various financial concepts, such as savings, credit, budgeting and careers in banking. Bankers use these resources to teach a lesson that provides a meaningful and beneficial experience for students.

The learning outcomes and goals of the program include:

  • Teaching financial education lessons to K-12 Mississippi students
  • Bringing bankers and teachers together in partnership to benefit local schools
  • Promoting engagement by bankers in the community to increase financial empowerment educational efforts and good works by bankers in their communities

While the MBA provides educational materials, bankers are free to use other internal resources they may deem important. "For any other presentation, we've created a financial education library for our teammates to use with approved curriculum," North said.

To learn more about how Cadence Bank is helping people, companies and communities prosper, visit our Stories page.

 

This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.

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