Archive for the ‘ Youth ’ Category

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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