As a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, First United Security Bank is unveiling more than 22 initiatives to reach out to the community with financial literacy. Statistics show that the nation had $900 billion in credit card debt and an 81% increase in foreclosures last year.
First United Security Bank has increased its commitment and investment to come into schools and communities and speak to groups and individuals about developing the skills needed to manage money and establish positive spending habits. Each branch has a community advocate that is charged with seeking out these and other opportunities to encourage financial literacy. The bank is also working on future partnerships with non-profit organizations to deliver financial literacy education and opportunities for the under-served and unbanked in specific communities.
"Those who do not have or want a checking account should not feel like they are at a disadvantage. A pre-paid Visa card works very much like a debit card with one extra advantage. An individual can load it with cash, but there is no chance of fees for insufficient funds when the cash is gone."
-Mel Ann Sullivan, Community Development Officer
First United Security Bank offers programs in area schools at several levels:
The bank is able to provide financial education at all levels. In some cases and with advanced scheduling, a community affairs specialist with the FDIC is available as a guest speaker. Money Smart is a free ten week, self-paced online course which includes: basic banking knowledge, borrowing, checking, and savings, budgeting, keeping your money safe, building and protecting your credit, and owning a home. Anyone can order the program on-line directly from the FDIC in the form of a CD-Rom. You may also request information about Money Smart in any of our branches, or visit the FDIC’s Money Smart page.
Other initiatives include encouraging financial literacy through advertising and direct mail efforts to students and others who may be struggling financially. According to the bank’s director of marketing and communications, Mel Ann Sullivan, products are available to individuals as an alternative to payday lenders and other expensive ways of getting access to your money. “We have had a great response to our prepaid Visa products, especially the reloadable card,” Sullivan said.