First Bank & Trust looks toward second financial literacy class, partners with city

Bailey Williams, Summer Assistant Editor

First Bank & Trust is looking to have its second financial literacy class for teens this month as part of its partnership with the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program.

The bank announced in June the partnership, which will include offering bank accounts to all participating students under the age of 18 and three financial literacy classes for interested program participants.

The Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program seeks to help students ages 14 to 18 find employment during the summer.

“Our goals are basically to educate these kids in financial literacy,” said Jay Lytle, managing director of First Bank & Trust. “That is our sole expectation. The accounts… are accounts that we’ll lose money on, but it’s our gift back to these kids and to the City of Evanston.”

The bank would not release the exact number of students who signed up for accounts, but Lytle said “an increasing number of them are opening accounts.”

About 30 people took part in the first financial literacy class with four bank presenters, said Judette Kurasz, a vice president at First Bank & Trust. The class focused on the basics of banking, including checking accounts and savings accounts. Lytle said because many teens do not know what a checking account is, how an account works and various other banking basics, the bank decided to teach “banking 101” with the first class.

“We have had a culture (at the bank) of… trying to preach financial literacy to various groups, from Youth Organizations Umbrella to the women in the battered women’s shelter,” Lytle said. “We’ve been doing this for years.”

Kurasz said the feedback they received from the first class will help them moving forward with the next two classes.

In the second class, the bank wants to focus on teaching the youth what to do with the money they make now that they have jobs. Kurasz said the class aims to gather families with different budget ideas and salaries and to try to help the participants differentiate between spending needs and wants.

The third class will focus on financial empowerment, looking at dreams and aspirations.

“We want these kids… to learn how to manage money from income they’ve earned,” Lytle said.

Summer program participants who sign up for accounts will have ATM access and no minimum balance. Additionally, by signing up, participants were entered into a raffle for one of 10 Downtown Evanston gift cards.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @news_BaileyW