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At Wintrust, we’re heavily invested in the success of the communities we serve. That’s why, 11 years ago, we began partnering with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to offer its Money Smart curriculum for the people in our area.
With financial education courses covering everything from managing money for teens, to buying a home or starting a business, Money Smart can be helpful throughout any stage of life. Our banks partner with local organizations to offer these free resources to our communities.
“There’s an opportunity to do good with Money Smart,” said Casandra Slade, Wintrust’s senior vice president of community impact. “The more we can offer financial education, the more we can really reach out to the people in the areas we serve, and help them develop relationships with financial institutions like us.”
Currently, Wintrust has 160 trained Money Smart facilitators, most of whom are bank tellers, branch managers, and other employees located within our more than 175 bank branches. We partner with chambers of commerce, schools, churches, and other local organizations to offer financial education in our communities. We’ve also partnered with local job training programs to help provide financial education for residents on their path to employment.
“Partnerships like these are great,” Slade said. “Our bankers can connect with their community and share what they share best: financial knowledge.”
Not only do we provide Money Smart courses and events within our communities, but we also offer these resources in our bank branches, through one-on-one instruction. We’ve incorporated this education into two of our introductory accounts, Money Smart Checking® and Money Smart Savings®, which are designed to assist those looking for a fresh start in rebuilding their banking history. To open one of these accounts, potential customers can take a Money Smart class, designed to teach financial basics, to help them set the course for financial success.
“If someone does have a history and needs help reestablishing it, they can get one-on-one financial education on the spot, and then that account can be opened,” said Slade. “This has been very well utilized in our communities.”
What’s next for Wintrust and Money Smart? Slade explains that Wintrust hopes to expand the program in the future. The next step will be empowering other Wintrust employees to participate, and offer this education directly as certified Money Smart facilitators.
“We started this at our bank branches, because that’s where customers know to go first, but the area we really see an opportunity for growth in is getting corporate employees involved,” she said. “Not only will this help us accommodate more requests from community partners, it also allows employees throughout the company a chance to provide education and resources in their own communities. It’s a win-win.”
To learn more about Money Smart courses and other resources available near you, please contact your local Wintrust Community Bank.