By Sam Short, Senior Vice President/Senior Lender, Southern Bank of Tennessee, Chairman, TBA Young Bankers Division
The Young Bankers Division has been the catalyst to promoting Tennessee banks’ efforts in financial literacy since the 1980s.
Over the decades, the ways that banks and individuals engage with each other through financial education have evolved, and Tennessee Financial Literacy Week is a reflection of that evolution.
Last year, TBA transitioned from the legacy Personal Economics Program (PEP) format—where TBA collected reports on financial literacy presentations in schools throughout the year—and replaced it with Tennessee Financial Literacy Week. In March 2019, the state legislature passed a bill officially declaring the first week in April as Tennessee Financial Literacy Week, and when the event arrived, the inaugural effort and engagement by banks across the state surpassed expectations.
One of the encouraging aspects of the week, and a major reason for the transition from the old PEP model, was recognizing that bankers’ efforts in financial literacy expands well-beyond the walls of Tennessee schools.
Financial literacy is a continuum throughout our lives, and it was great to see how varied the events were across the state. They included in-school events, but banks also hosted financial literacy events with business customers, rotary clubs, senior centers, elderly customers, special needs groups, and local entrepreneurs.
From what was reported to TBA and collected from the #TNFinLit hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, at least 72 banks participated by hosting an event which covered collectively more than half the counties in the state. That is tremendous reach and impact for the first year of this statewide pursuit. However, the ultimate goal is that all 95 counties will share in the experience of Tennessee Financial Literacy Week, so we hope that each year addi-tional banks and additional branches will join the effort to reach that goal.
Tennessee Financial Literacy Week is dedicated as the first full week of April, and this year’s will be April 6-10.
Need some resources or help getting started? At TNBankers.org/finlitweek, there are several tool-kit presentations, worksheets, promotional flyers, and resources that bankers can access to assist in presentations for all types of events and audiences. If you don’t see something that fits with your plans, please reach out to TBA, and they'll help develop or find a resource that works with your event.
Register your bank’s participation, before or after your Financial Literacy Week event. TBA asks that every member bank register their events by completing a simple form at TNBankers.org/finlitweek. This allows us to quantify the impact and promote the collective good done by Tennessee’s banks.
Take to social media to highlight your efforts. Using the social media hashtag, #TNFin¬Lit, banks across the state can promote their financial literacy efforts in the community during Tennessee Financial Literacy Week and build the movement collectively. Tips and sample social media posts are also available at TNBankers.org/finlitweek.