The FDIC’s Youth Savings Pilot Program is showing strong results. Agency Chair Mark Gruenberg reported that the agency hopes to provide a roadmap by the end of the year for banks wishing to offer a similar program in schools. This program is part of the agency’s mission to promote financial inclusion and to reach underbanked and unbanked households. The pilot program was offered through community schools and nonprofits.
As part of the FDIC’s work in this area, they conducted a national survey of unbanked and underbanked households. The survey results show that low-income, young, black, and Hispanic households have higher than average rates of financial exclusion. Another finding by the FDIC that informs this pilot program was that school-aged children from traditionally unbanked families are more likely to open bank accounts if they have access to a bank at their schools.
The Learning to Save, Saving to Learn Pilot Program combined the increased access to banks by school aged children along with financial education. Twenty-one banks participated in the program. Some partners established an outreach program where students were transported to local branches for tours and educational presentations. The majority of banks went further and established branches at the schools where students could open accounts and make deposits. Some of these in-school branches developed peer-to-peer training programs, and allowed students to gain job experience as student-tellers through work-study at the banks.
During the 2015-2016 school year, 4,672 savings accounts were opened by school-aged children at the participating banks.
The FDIC developed the Money Smart for Young People curriculum that provides lesson plans and teaching materials that are age and grade appropriate for teachers interested in teaching financial literacy.