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Bank taps lemonade as teaching tool

April 8, 2016
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Independent Lemonade stand
West Michigan-based Independent Bank is a longtime supporter of financial literacy among children. Courtesy Independent Bank

This is a story about turning financial lemons into lemonade — and entrepreneurialism.

West Michigan-based Independent Bank is a longtime supporter of financial literacy among children, but officials were growing concerned that younger generations were neglecting sound financial practices that could make a big difference later in life.

On April 17, Independent Bank is launching its newest financial literacy campaign known as “Pour into Sweet Savings,” which is designed to not only help educate children on the importance of saving money, but also spark an entrepreneurial spirit.

The campaign

The campaign integrates the concept of financial literacy and the importance of saving money with operating a summertime lemonade stand. For every child who currently has or will open an Independent Bank Swift! savings account between April 17-July 1, the bank will give away a free lemonade stand kit.

Tricia Raquepaw, vice president director of marketing, said the bank has had a financial literacy program for years and encouraged employees to go into school classrooms to help educate children on the topic.

“We wanted to kind of up our game this year with our financial literacy program,” said Raquepaw. “We would come to the classroom, encourage them to open a savings account, but never really took it further than that.”

Raquepaw said the bank thought of different entrepreneurial opportunities kids have in the summer to help them understand how they save their money and decided to do a campaign focused on running a lemonade stand.

The kit

Each participating child will be given a lemonade stand kit that has lemonade packets, stickers, cups and a book customized by Independent Bank with savings tips and a deposit log to register their earnings.

“We will give them everything they need to open up a lemonade stand,” said Raquepaw. “They get a tote bag and a poster that stands up they can put their name on, and they get a lemonade packet. So all they need is a pitcher and water — and a pouch where they can put the money that they earn.”

The campaign has an additional built-in incentive for children who deposit and save their money. The child who saves the most at each branch through July 31 will win a free full-size, cardboard lemonade stand.

“We are really excited to launch this,” said Raquepaw. “We think this is going to be a really neat campaign. I think it is going to be fun.”

The impact

Raquepaw said financial literacy at a young age helps individuals not only understand, but also have the ability to manage their own financial freedom.

“If you teach them to start saving money and the importance of saving money at a young age, they understand how a financial institution works, how credit works, and how debit versus credit cards work,” said Raquepaw. “If you don’t share with them, they don’t know.”

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