The Slater Elementary Youth Bank opens on Wednesdays of every week and the lines go out of the bank branch door. Students from all grade levels at Slater come to the bank to deposit their dollars, quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies. The students can create and open accounts and SunTrust donates incremental matches up to $25 based on the student’s balance. The students come with monies earned from babysitting, chores, good grades, parental allowances and monetary gifts from relatives. Slater students also work at the bank in the roles of tellers, customer service representatives, runners and data entry personnel. SunTrust employees from a range of divisions come to Slater to help the students in each of the banking duty roles. For the most part, the SunTrust employees take a back seat while the Slater students run the calculators, deposit slips and banking envelopes that are deployed as they learn about finance, compounding interest, economics, real-time mathematics and good stewardship of money and customers.
“It’s important that our children learn how to save and this bank helps them do that. Most of the children make deposits on a regular basis. The incremental matches on their money that SunTrust provides lets them see the return on their money and that provides them incentive to save. This bank also provides students with the opportunity to learn work ethics and responsibilities. Every job function that is in a regular bank branch is replicated here. Another benefit is that this bank teaches students about careers and whether or not banking is a career path they will want to choose and how to handle their money responsibly when they become full-grown citizens in their towns, cities, communities and their country,” says Mrs. Debra Mitchell, Instructional Coach at Slater Elementary. When asked if he could take a moment to talk about his job as the data entry specialist at the Slater Elementary Youth Bank, 4th grader Anthony Johnson paused from his computer monitor and keyboard, took a confident and reassuring breath and said “After I’m done entering these data slips, I’ll be right with you, Sir.” Anthony is already a budding and focused banking professional, with a flair for providing good customer service at the right time.