By Derrick Whitten, Vice President, The Hardin County Bank, Savannah, Chairman, TBA Young Bankers Division
The legacy of the Young Bankers Division highlighting Tennessee banks’ efforts in financial literacy dates back to the 1980s, and continues today through our promotion of Tennessee Financial Literacy Week.
In 2019, TBA led efforts at the state legislature to pass a bill officially declaring the first week in April as Tennessee Financial Literacy Week. That April, 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. The inaugural effort and engagement by banks across the state surpassed expectations.
One major reason for the transition from the old PEP model was recognizing that bankers’ efforts in financial literacy reach a much broader audience than just Tennessee students. In 2019, events reported by participating banks included in-school events, but also financial literacy presentations with small business customers, rotary clubs, senior centers, elderly customers, special needs groups, and local entrepreneurs.
When the week arrived in 2020, we were in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Every bank in the state was battling with the chaotic rollout of the Paycheck Protection Program and navigating closed schools, essential worker status, and stay-at-home orders.
However, Financial Literacy Week was not entirely lost. Numerous banks found creative ways to engage customers digitally and provide an avenue for some light-hearted activities for their customers and families who were adjusting to the first few weeks of unexpected home-schooling and remote work. TBA shared a financial fun fact each day on Twitter and many banks shared trivia questions, financial literacy videos, coloring contests, and financial tips using the hashtag #TNFinLit.
As we enter 2021 facing a vulnerable economy and with cautious optimism about a controlled virus in the coming months, many small businesses and individuals will still be suffering the aftershocks of 2020. As a positive outreach to those customers, I hope that you will make plans now to bring Tennessee Financial Literacy Week to your community in April.
Need some resources or help getting started? At TNBankers.org/finlitweek, there are several toolkit 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 we’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, #TNFinLit, 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.