Financial Whiz kids at West Feliciana High School

Sound Money management is a skill set everyone needs to develop to ensure financial stability in life. But remarkably, most young people never take a formal class on the topic. Bank of St. Francisville set out to change this by forging a partnership with West Feliciana High School.

The partnership to educate students on the basics of financial management began during the 2016-2017 school year and has continued. Bank of St. Francisville executives Janis Crutchfield and Aimee Cook, working with BSF staff members, developed a four-session program that features different “real world” financial literacy topics. The program is designed for college-bound sophomores, juniors and seniors.

“It has been very effective and is badly needed,” says West Feliciana High School Assistant Principal Georgia Dudley. “We are thrilled to be part of it.” 

“High school students who plan to attend four-year colleges do not have the chance to take financial literacy in high school,” says Dudley, noting that the topic only appears in the curriculum for students planning to pursue a two-year degree or a technical certificate for immediate employment. Dudley says many college-bound students at West Feliciana High School already work part-time jobs, pay some of their own bills and are saving for college. “Understanding the importance of saving, balancing a checkbook, and building a good credit score is invaluable to this population,” she says.

Aimee Cook and Janis Crutchfield interacting with WFHS students during BSF's Financial Literacy classes.

The sessions were taught during study hall hours in order to not impact instructional time. About 160 total students took part. Topics included managing a checking or savings account, taught by BSF’s Bess Kelley; creating a budget and getting the most out of electronic banking, taught by Tanya Arbuthnot and DeAnn Hennessy; and understanding credit, credit cards and credit scores, by Erica Stokes with Janis and Aimee.

In 2016, Louisiana earned a D grade for financial literacy by the National Report Card on Adult Financial Literacy. The rating caught the bank’s eye.  

“Bank of St. Francisville sees it as our responsibility to foster strong financial literacy skills in the community,” says Cook. “One of the most effective ways of accomplishing this is by educating young people on issues like credit scores, borrowing, reconciling bank statements and saving.”

One of the most eye-opening conversations was on how credit scores work, says Dudley.

“The students realized that even though they might not purchase a home for another 10 or more years, the way they conduct themselves today makes a big difference in their ability to build solid credit,” says Dudley.

Cook led the session on credit and credit scores.

“We discussed the importance of building a good credit score, and how long it takes to undo a bad one,” says Cook. “A credit score is an objective measure of your character, and it’s so important that teenagers understand this early.”

Would you like to discuss opening a checking and savings account for your child? Call us at (225) 635-6397 or make an appointment HERE today.

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