Archive for the ‘ Youth ’ Category

2012 Citizens Scholarship Winners

For the past 12 years, Citizens Bank Minnesota has provided local students the opportunity to receive a renewable $1,000 scholarship – up to $4,000 – to use towards their higher education as a full-time undergraduate at an accredited four-year college or university.

To apply for this scholarship, students must be clients of Citizens, have an open and active checking account, and attend the Real Life 101 Seminar.  The seminar discusses the next phase of these students’ financial lives: personal finance, insurance needs, managing their credit and their budgets, as well as what careers fit their personality types.  Students between 13-18 years old can attend at any point of their high school years, but can only apply for the scholarship during their senior year.

Citizens is pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 Citizens Bank Minnesota Scholarship: Minnesota Valley Lutheran’s Philip Biedenbender, son of Steven and Laurie Biedenbender, and New Ulm Cathedral’s John Hayes, son of Thomas and Patricia Hayes.

Citizens believes that supporting our local students through their education is a vital necessity to the future of our communities, and we are proud of the accomplishments these students have achieved so far in their young lives.  Citizens looks forward to what all of the scholarship winners will accomplish in the future!

For more information on the Citizens Bank Minnesota Scholarship, please visit:

By: Kelly Blick, Marketing Assistant/Youth Coordinator

Have you heard? The Savings Force just turned one!

Wait…what is the Savings Force?

It’s Lil’ C and Super Z, the superheroes who help Citizens Bank Minnesota’s young bankers become super savers.  They introduce children, ages 0-12, to the idea of saving through educational newsletters, events and the Power Rewards Program.

Earning Power Reward Points is the best way to show the children how saving works.  For each dollar they deposit into their savings account, they earn a Power Reward Point.  It’s that simple!

There are other ways to earn points, too.  During the child’s birthday month, they receive a postcard from Lil’ C and Super Z that can be redeemed at their local Citizens branch for 50 Power Reward Points.

Lil’ C and Super Z want to encourage the children to try their best in school, too.  They can bring in their report cards and earn Power Reward Points for their good grades.

As the children save their Power Reward Points, they can redeem them for prizes, ranging from bouncy balls and finger puppets to DVDs and iTunes gift cards.  Prize levels start at 100 points and go up to 1,000 points, so reaching one of these levels is an attainable goal.  Plus, Lil’ C and Super Z love to send prizes to their super savers!

Lil’ C and Super Z also gave away some great prizes at their birthday party held in conjunction with the Minnesota Twins Home Opener on Monday, April 9.  They asked the children to bring in their piggy banks, step up to the home plate by each teller station and save their money.  They met their goal of saving over $500!

The Savings Force looks forward to helping the young bankers of Citizens continue to learn to save in fun ways!

By: Kelly Blick, Marketing Assistant/Youth Coordinator

National Teach Children to Save Day

National Teach Children to Save Day is April 24. Citizens Bank Minnesota is excited to once again go into our local schools and teach the second graders about saving.  The day is aimed at raising awareness about the important role that banks and bankers play in helping young people develop lifelong savings habits.

One of the ways we help the students learn about saving is by discussing what they might save for, why it is important to save, and where they can save their money.  To emphasize how banks are a better place to save their money than at home in their piggy banks, the students play a game with Laffy Taffy.  After the class is divided into two, they each take turns to “make a deposit” with their taffy, one group to their piggy bank, the other to the bank.  After the first round, the students who deposited their taffy at the bank receive interest in the form of more taffy.  After five rounds, the bank students have an overflowing bucket of taffy, while the piggy bank students have only the amount of taffy they started with.  This is a good visual and interactive example to help students understand the benefits of saving.

Following the Laffy Taffy game, the students talk about different ways they can add to their savings accounts, such as receiving money as a gift, earning money from jobs at home, or their allowance.  They also talk about their savings goals, such as buying video games or toys now, or saving for a car or college in the future.  The students then can ask questions in regards to saving and the bank.  In the past, the students have been excited to talk about the security of the bank, specifically the vault and motion detectors!

Through Teach Children to Save, the students really gain a good insight into saving that we hope will stay with them throughout their lives.  If they don’t already have a savings account, we encourage the kids to stop into Citizens and open one up.  They will then join the Savings Force and receive educational newsletters and be involved in our Power Rewards Program, which is geared toward saving money to earn rewards.

By: Kelly Blick, Marketing Assistant/Youth Coordinator

The Savings Force

Today, April 25, 2011, we celebrate the introduction of The Savings Force! Our former Junior Banker President, Breezie, has retired and these Superheroes are coming in to teach our youth bankers how important it is to save. Here is a short story of how they came to Citizens!

The Story of Citi & Zen 

In the village of Bankland, not far from here, lived a young girl named Citi and her best friend, a boy named Zen.  They did everything together – riding bikes, playing soccer and just having fun.  But their favorite thing to do was searching for adventure, and that’s just what they planned to do.  They packed lunch bags with sandwiches and juice.  They each had a couple of dollars to spend, just in case they found something they wanted to buy.  They set out on their bicycles to a nearby village, named Squanderville, hoping that it was a good place for an adventure.    

There were so many things to do in Squanderville.  They spent the morning exploring the town and decided to visit some of the stores after lunch.   The first stop must surely be the candy store.  There were shelves full of bins with candy in every one!  Some of the local children were buying bags full of candy, emptying their pockets and spending all the money they had.  Citi and Zen weren’t sure about spending all their money on candy so they decided to shop some more.  

The next store Citi and Zen went into was a toy store.  It was full of toys, from floor to ceiling – everything a kid could ever want!  Again they saw some of the local children emptying their pockets to purchase toys.  Citi and Zen saw a few things they wanted, too, but still waited to see what else they could buy in Squanderville. 

After a few more stores, Citi and Zen looked at each other and realized they didn’t really want to spend their money that day.  They decided to save it for something special that they may want to buy in the future. 

Citi and Zen returned to their homes in Bankland to tell their parents about their adventure in Squanderville.   They explained how the other children had foolishly spent all of their money on candy and toys, and how they had decided not to spend their money today, but save it for a special purchase later.  The parents told Citi and Zen that they were proud of both of them for being so responsible, saving their money wisely and waiting to buy something they really wanted. 

Citi and Zen saved their money for several months.  They decided to return to Squanderville to teach children there about saving money and how to spend it wisely.  But how would they get the children to listen?  They knew what to do…their fist stop would be the costume store, where they found exactly what they were looking for- super hero costumes!  They would become The Savings Force!   Citi became Lil’ C and Zen became Super Z.  The Squanderville children gathered to listen while Lil’ C and Super Z explained the importance of saving money.  They told of the day they visited the village and watched as many of the children emptied their pockets and spent all of their money on candy, toys and other things.  They pointed out that there was nothing wrong with spending some of the money on these items once in a while, but encouraged them to save some for the future.  In time, there would be enough money saved to buy something really special!      Citi and Zen were happy to help the kids in Squanderville and decided to help other children as well.  

Before Breezie retired, he invited Lil’ C and Super Z to come to Citizens Bank Minnesota to help YOU learn how to save money, too!   We hope you get a chance to meet them – they would love to meet you!!

By: Missy Marti, Assistant Marketing Director & Kelly Blick, Marketing Assistant

Money Management for Kids

Some common questions often arise when discussing the topics of money and kids. 

1)      When and how should kids start earning money?
2)      When should they start managing/saving their money?
3)      How do you encourage them to save? 

Kids should start to earn money as soon as they start wanting and needing things.

Adults have all heard from kids “I want this” or “I need that”.  We need to teach them how to earn those items, not just get them. Earnings could be an allowance from their parents for doing daily chores around the house, assisting grandparents, neighbors, birthday money and gifts.  The list could go on and on based on their abilities.   

With that in mind, kids should also start managing/saving money as soon as they start earning money.  Kids will naturally want to spend what they earn.  If they receive $5 from grandma for raking leaves, they’ll want to spend the $5 on something they think they really want or need, then wonder why they have no money.  

How do we get kids to save and manage their money?  We first need to help them put together a plan to earn money. That plan should be fun and workable for them.  Then we need to implement a plan based on the individual. What do they want to do with their earnings?  Do they have something specific they want that’s more expensive?  If so, spending what they earn on smaller, less expensive items will not help them save money to buy that more expensive special item someday.

I offer my children three options with the money they earn.  The first option is putting some money in there wallet to spend on those smaller items that give them immediate satisfaction.  The second option is to have a savings bucket at home to fill for more expensive items.  The third option is a savings account at the bank to save for their future. 

This concept has worked well because they compete with each other to see who saves more and where it’s stored.  If it’s in the wallet, it’s typically spent on junk.  If it goes to the bucket, it’s very likely to accumulate for that special item; and if it goes to the bank, it’s secure and grows interest so they someday have money for education, a vehicle or there first home. 

So parents find a plan that works for your kids and have fun with it! 

By: Brant Drill, Assistant Vice President

Could you use $4,000 for College?

Citizens Bank Minnesota has paid out $104,500 in awards since 2000 with their Scholarship Program. 

Citizens awards two or more scholarships each year to local graduating seniors who will be attending post-secondary education. Scholarship Management Services, a division of Scholarship America of St. Peter, performs the selection process and administration. This program was instituted at Citizens as a way to show our commitment to the community and our belief in today’s youth. Citizens plans to continue this tradition for years to come!

Applicants for the scholarship program must be high school seniors, who plan to enroll in a full-time undergraduate course of study at an accredited four year college or university in the fall following graduation. This program’s requirements include that the student be a customer of Citizens Bank Minnesota with an open and active checking account. The applicant must also attend the required educational banking classes before applications are distributed.

Students applying for the scholarship are required to attend the ‘Real Life 101’ seminar. This seminar focuses on teaching valuable lessons in banking. The classes include Personal Finance, Loans and Credit, Investments, Insurance and Online Banking tools. The classes include lecture as well as real life examples, such as how to work a budget, what is needed to apply for a loan, and various investment options to name a few.

Scholarship awards are $1,000.00 each. Awards may be renewed for an additional three years, on the basis of satisfactory academic performance and maintaining full-time enrollment. Applicants not selected for the scholarship awards will be entered into a drawing to win some fun prizes. Not all applicants will be selected to receive an award.

Interested students must complete the application they receive after meeting the bank’s requirements. Applicants are responsible for gathering and submitting all necessary information. Applications are evaluated on the information provided; therefore, the applicant must answer questions to the fullest extent possible. All information received is considered confidential and is reviewed only by Scholarship America. Applications must be completed and postmarked by the deadline set by Scholarship America.

Scholarship recipients are selected on the basis of academic record, potential to succeed, leadership, participation in school and community activities, honors received and work experience. Students are also asked to complete a statement of educational and career goals, and submit an outside appraisal from a teacher or counselor. Financial need is not considered. Selection of recipients is made by Scholarship America. In no instance does any bank or school official play a part in the selection. All applicants agree to accept the decision of Scholarship America as final.

If you are interested in this program contact Scholarship Coordinator Missy Marti ( Our first Real Life 101 seminar for 2010 will be held Tuesday, December 28th in New Ulm. 

Missy Marti, Assistant Marketing Director/eWorld Coordinator

An Interesting Alternative to Student Loans

I found this interview, which ran on NPR on September 8, 2010, quite interesting.  The interview is with Neoga Leviner, General Manager, Lumni Inc., a company that has created an interesting alternative to traditional student loans.

Traditionally, students borrow the money they need for college and are able to defer interest from accumulating until after their graduation.  Once they graduate, students may have thousands or dollars worth of debt to pay off – a sizeable hole that students are forced to climb out of before they can even dream about saving for a car, a house, or – gulp! – retirement.

Lumni offers students an alternative.  They will loan students up to $6,000 a year for college – not enough to completely fund a college education, but an amount meant to help bridge the gap between the amount available to the student and the amount needed by the student.  In exchange, students sign a contract to pay Lumni a percentage of their salary (the actual percent is not mentioned in the interview) for a fixed period of time, usually 10 years, after they graduate.

Lumni was started in Latin America, and this year will be making their first loans to students in the United States.  If you are going to start college soon and are forced with the dilemma of financing your education, you may wish to check with Lumni. Would this type of loan interest you?

By: Joe Geistfeld, Marketing Intern

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