West Gate Bank and the UNL Center for Economic Education Partner to Open Student Branch at Wysong Elementary
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November 26, 2019
The newest “branch” of West Gate Bank opened its doors for the first time on November 22, 2019. Business will be limited to savings deposits for Wysong Elementary students.
The “student branch” is located at Wysong Elementary, and the November 22 opening is the culmination of a four-month planning process involving Wysong school faculty, West Gate Bank, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Center for Economic Education. The Wysong Branch is the second branch of West Gate Bank, which already has a branch at Lakeview Elementary that opened 3 years ago. These branches are part of the growing In School Savings Program across Nebraska.The Wysong Branch will become the ninth branch currently within Lincoln Public School district. Other successful branches can be found at Arnold, Belmont, Cavett, Clinton, Elliott, Hartley, Huntington, and Lakeview Elementary schools.
Earlier this fall, the UNL Center for Economic Education and West Gate Bank started the discussion in partnership with Wysong Elementary to bring the savings program to the students.
“Our role is to help plan projects that make Wysong Elementary special, provide professional development in economics and personal finance for the staff, and to help schools develop and select new economics lessons as part of their economics curriculum,” said Dr. Tammie Fischer, Director for the UNL Center for Economic Education.
The student branch at Wysong Elementary is just such a project. It is designed to:
- introduce the economic concept of savings early and reinforce this idea throughout the elementary curriculum;
- demonstrate that saving should be part of a student’s personal finance plan for his or her future;
- provide the opportunity to discover careers in the area of banking and finance;
- increase parental involvement through savings and banking activity.
“The goal of this program is to provide our students the opportunities to not only learn about savings and how financial institutions operate, but to also become savers themselves,” said Randy Oltman, Principal at Wysong Elementary, “We are building a community of economically literate students here at Wysong and want our children to become savvy savers.”
During the last four months, Fischer met with representatives of West Gate Bank, colleagues and Wysong Elementary staff to set the project in motion. Student tellers were interviewed and selected by teachers at Wysong and trained by West Gate staff. Targeted savings lessons will be taught by teachers in grades 3-5 to prepare students for the branch opening.
“It has been great to work with the selected tellers and complete the training process with them. They are learning great skills that will stay with them as they continue their education and get them prepared for the future,” said Kim Foreman, AVP, Branch Manager at West Gate Bank
Starting November 22, the student branch will be open once a week for savings deposits only. It will be staffed by an actual West Gate Bank teller and student tellers. Deposits are suggested to consist of $1.00 or more. “We are so excited about this project,” said Mr. Sjulin, President and Chief Executive Officer of West Gate Bank “we will match the initial deposits of the students up to $5.00 to help them get started.” Incentives will be provided based on the frequency of deposits and as the students reach various savings goals. All students must obtain parental permission to participate. Each year, new students will have the opportunity to be part of the new teller group. The branch will be closed over the summer months and holiday breaks but will reopen again during the school year.
The students will maintain their accounts for the duration of their time at the school, Fischer said. Upon graduation, student savings members will be able to open their own savings accounts or withdraw the money. “Hopefully, they will have an established saving habit and will want to continue,” Fischer said.
For more information about the saving project, contact Kim Foreman at 402-434-3454, or Tammie Fischer at 402-472-2319.
About West Gate Bank
West Gate Bank® is a family-owned community bank with 10 locations in Lincoln and Omaha. West Gate Bank is large enough to serve all your personal or commercial banking needs yet small enough to provide the outstanding personal service that only a community bank can deliver. At West Gate Bank, our interest is you! Visit westgate.bank for more information.