"In the United States, the average household has more than $9,000 in credit card debt,” said Leonard Stekol, Ridgewood Savings Bank's
president and COO.
Ridgewood Savings Bank
diligently works to promote good financial habits in children through its school banking initiative. Since the beginning of the school banking program, students have been able to open their own passbook savings account and make regular deposits to reinforce the importance of saving from an early age.
This initial school banking program has evolved to include financial literacy efforts such as the American Bankers Association’s “Teach Children to Save”
and the “Get Smart About Credit
” programs. Ridgewood employees have been actively participating in the “Teach Children to Save” program since 2006. The bank currently serves 39 elementary and middle school and nearly 16 thousand students throughout the New York area.
The “Teach Children to Save” Program focuses on children in elementary school through eighth grade. Ridgewood Savings Bank’s Nancy Adzemovic facilitates the program and is supported by Sebrina Jacobs-Tulloch, Evelyn Faya, Jeannette Mulholland and Faustino Martinez—managers charged with overseeing the schools within their communities.
"I am so proud to head this program and it is so rewarding to see the growth in the number of students we are teaching year after year,” said Adzemovic.
In 2012, the program taught close to 7,000 students, and in 2016, that number almost doubled due to the popularity of the program.
"We incorporated a lesson plan and a quiz to demonstrate how to save money and to reward students for participating in the program,” said LouAnn Mannino, VP of Branch Operations for Ridgewood Savings Bank. “Our hope is that they can see the value in what we are trying to accomplish and learn more about how the bank can help them achieve their goals.”
The “Get Smart About Credit Program” is dedicated to teaching students about financial independence and, specifically, credit. This outreach program allowed for the bank to educate students from nine local high schools reaching just shy of 1,000 students in 2016. The plan moving forward is to continue to increase their presence in the high school arena.
“We want to educate children from a young age about money management and the importance of saving,” said Stekol. “These are values that will ultimately make our communities more stable and our residents smarter about personal finances."