Exeter-Milligan elementary students witnessed the opening of a new branch of Generations Bank tailored to their needs at the school on Friday afternoon, March 17.
The branch opened under the guidance of Generations Bank Special Projects Manager Jennifer Marr. Her motivation in guiding this project was, “The students of today are our customers of tomorrow. We believe in this program and want to do our part to prepare our future customers by providing them with the tools they need to confidently manage their money, becoming next generation savers!”
Also attending the opening were Generations Bank President Alan Emshoff who opened the ceremony and later cut the ribbon. He introduced Dr. Jennifer Davidson, President of the Nebraska Council on Economic Education.
Davidson, who is also an Economics professor at the University of Nebraska, announced to the assembled students that their branch was the 14th elementary savings programs opened this year but she predicted “this will be one of the strongest programs in Nebraska.”
After lauding the solid relationship between Generations Bank and the Exeter-Milligan district Davidson explained to the students the impact that saving can have on their future and how she has seen the elementary program in schools like Thayer Central make a difference 15 years later.
Also addressing the students was Kelly Lammers, Director of the Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance, who helped the students understand how money is kept safe in Nebraska banks.
He also touted the strength of Nebraska banks and noted the investment Nebraska banks have made in small business and agriculture loans in their communities which is 10 billion dollars more than most other states.
Lammers encouraged the students to think of their savings accounts like a winter coat, “It’s there when you need it.”
After the ribbon cutting was held, the student tellers received some last minute tips from Marr and Generations Bank Assistant Cashier Ashley Kassik before they started taking deposits from the elementary customers. According to Marr, Kassik also had an integral part in bringing the project to fruition.
Student tellers were fifth graders who applied for the job and were interviewed by bank staff before chosen to man the teller stations. Kindergarten through fifth graders were welcome to deposit funds which remain in their account until the end of fifth grade.
The funds are held in a special account with the bank. Instead of regular interest the students earn prizes for each time they deposit. And it’s not just a bonus for the students, according to Exeter-Milligan Principal Laura Kroll, it helps meet an education requirement, “The Financial Literacy Act which the state recently passed requires financial literacy instruction in grades K-8. It will also be a graduation requirement for this year's juniors. When this program was brought to our attention by Alan Emshoff we knew that it would fit in well with the new state requirements. Being able to partner with a local business like Generations Bank was just the cherry on top. We are excited to have students start depositing this week!”
Exeter-Milligan Superintendent Paul Sheffield added, “We look at this as a win-win situation. This is an opportunity for our students to learn about saving for the future working hand-in-hand with a local entity and also helping meet the new financial literacy standards.”
Generations Bank President Alan Emshoff explained that the banks motivation, “was to create our next generation of savers in the community. The staff at Generations Bank felt that the in school branch at E-M elementary would be a positive way for our bank to promote the habit of savings at a young age. By developing a habit of saving, saving with a goal in mind and getting some real life experience of having an account of their own, students in the program have a greater chance of becoming financially responsible citizens when they are grown and out on their own.”
The branch will be open on Friday afternoons for deposits from the elementary students.
Depositors at the new Generations Bank branch at Exeter-Milligan line up for their turn to start saving.
Dr. Jennifer Davidson
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