Texas Financial Literacy Summit: A happiness project that empowers all who come

When you ask your banker friends about personal finance, they may shake their heads and say, “We learned from the school of hard knocks.” Everyone can agree that experience is a fierce teacher.

The scenario

A banker gets invited to the local high school, middle school or senior center to have a conversation about personal finance — panic sets in. Should the conversation be about where money comes from? What about saving more and borrowing less? Should it be investing in the stock market or about credit and credit scores and how to apply for a loan? Suddenly, one’s appreciation grows for how our teachers manage content and learning in the classroom. 

Then the phone calls to TBA begin: “Do you have any materials for teaching personal finance?” “Of course we do. ­­Why don’t you and your colleagues come to our Texas Financial Literacy Summit? We’ll be exploring relevant programs that banks and schools across the state are using to raise financial literacy skills across Texas.”

Realizing the benefits

Some bankers struggle with community service activities surrounding financial literacy because they divert time away from the essential duties of banking and do not directly contribute to the bottom line. But for others, it is the opportunity to build relationships, cultivate new friends and community partnerships. It can show off the resources and knowledge stored in the very vault and walls of the bank and in the brains and hearts of its professional staff.

The moving target of success

We can all agree that everyone needs to have some basic knowledge of how to manage money. Regular Summit attendees give a nod to the ongoing dialogue and debate that surrounds the value of financial education. They discuss how to measure success in kindergarten through 12th grade, college, adult and senior space. 

Attendees return to their local collaborations with teachers and community groups where they test and evaluate what learning sticks, what keeps students’ attention, what they need to know to make good financial decisions and, finally, whether they will achieve their life goals without financial heartache. 

The literature surrounding this debate has risen to new heights over the last 10 years, especially since COVID-19. Financial literacy has now become a field of study, one with its own Journal of Economics Literature Code (G53) and there is now an academic journal dedicated to this field. This will foster research, which is needed to measure success. 

Thankfully, hearts and minds are beginning to coalesce around these promising factors offered by economists Martha Henn McCormick and Annamarie Lusardi, whose research finds personal finance topics must:

  • Permeate K-12 lesson plans rather than waiting for courses in middle and high school.
  • Demonstrate relevance to engage and motivate students to participate.
  • Go beyond the basics of handling cash and forge an understanding of the relationship between money, work, investment, credit, bill payment, retirement planning, taxes and more.
  • Be mandated by state and academic standards to ensure widespread implementation, earning time and resource commitments from teachers and school systems.
  • Include teacher training and professional development opportunities as a corollary to a successful program.

The Summit

This leads us right back to the 18th annual Texas Financial Literacy Summit, held July 11-12, 2024, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

About the Summit

This day-and-a-half program is an active laboratory where bankers, regulators and educators share their successes and challenges when teaching financial education. The 30-minute sessions include programs and resources that can align with Texas Education Standards for TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) and STARR requirements, as well as high school graduation requirements for the various career and technology strands. 

The Summit has included the perspectives of policymakers such as Texas Banking Commissioner Charles Cooper, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar, Texas State Senator Carol Alvarez and Texas House Representative Vikki Goodwin.

The program sessions are filled with banks’ award-winning field projects that have captured students’ attention or provided community members with solid financial information and resources. 

Past Summit presentations have included companies or regulators that developed curriculum and programs for bankers and teachers to use in their communities. These include presentations from FDIC Money Smart, Federal Reserve Building Wealth and Navigate, ING Direct, EverFi, Banzai, Dave Ramsey Solutions, Experian, Jump$tart, ABA, Next Gen Personal Finance, Lemoney Learning and Earn Your Freedom.

Who should attend?

Bankers with a passion for financial education will not want to miss the Summit. It’s also useful for those looking to start an initiative to cultivate community involvement or for those looking for new ideas. Educators from K-12 to college-level partners are encouraged to attend, as well as nonprofits that focus on financial education.

Mark your calendar for July 11-12, 2024, and join us for the Texas Financial Literacy Summit — where happiness can be found by empowering those who attend and providing those in their community with tools for financial wellness.

A Teacher’s Perspective

Austin Bank’s Tammy Dosser, Maebeth Cotton, Debbie Braune and Jennifer Mitchell outside of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, host to the Texas Financial Literacy Summit.In 2023, Austin Bank contacted the Region 7 Education Service Center for a recommendation of an educator who might benefit from the experience of attending the Summit. They were introduced to Jennifer Mitchell, a 6th Grade Math & CEER Educator at Pine Tree Middle School. The bank covered Mitchell’s travel, accommodations and meals — registration for teachers attending the Summit is free.

Mitchell received a forwarded email about the Summit on the last day to register and decided to seize the opportunity.

“I am incredibly grateful to Austin Bank for sponsoring me. Without their generous support, I would have missed out on this life-changing and career-changing opportunity. Their sponsorship and hospitality made my experience even more enriching,” she shared.

Mitchell, who had recently transitioned from teaching 8th grade Algebra 1 for 13 years, was enthusiastic about enhancing her classroom practices with ideas for teaching financial freedom concepts. She was inspired by the opening speaker, Sabrina Taylor, a fellow teacher with a passion for teaching financial education. The two have formed a friendship and Mitchell benefited from networking with other attendees.

She gained a wealth of knowledge from the presentations such as how banks are working with elementary schools to teach both financial concepts and the workings of banks, takeaway resources and materials that align with Texas state standards, the impactful role women play in finance and the future of gaming in teaching financial concepts. 

“The Summit holds immense significance for the financial freedom of younger generations. My message to bankers is simple: bring a teacher to the Summit!”

Photo: Austin Bank’s Tammy Dosser, Maebeth Cotton, Debbie Braune and Jennifer Mitchell outside of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, host to the Texas Financial Literacy Summit.

Satisfied Customers

The Summit’s longevity can be attributed to the happiness in service along with the energy and enthusiasm that fills the room from bringing bankers and educators together to collaborate. Below are just a few of the observations from regular attendees:

Roseann Yanez

Roseann Yanez
Community Representative, Frost Bank, Dallas

“Over the years, I have met so many influential speakers who have empowered my mission to provide financial literacy classes in the communities I serve. The summit creates a space to build your centers of influence.”

Brittany McDowell

Brittany McDowell
Financial Literacy Advocate, Citizens State Bank, Buffalo

“I have attended the summit for three years and leave every time feeling inspired with new ideas and approaches to try in my community. Since attending, our bank has worked to build relationships with teachers, counselors, principals and superintendents. I would encourage bankers just starting out to be patient.”

Fran Pack

Fran Pack
Training and Development Specialist, Citizens State Bank, Somerville

“I have attended the summit for eight years and keep coming back for ideas and networking. We want our community to know that a bank is more than a place to get money; we are a source of financial information.”

John Sellers

John Sellers
Marketing Director, The City National Bank of Sulphur Springs

“I have attended the summit for more than 12 years and keep coming back for trends, changes in teaching methods and networking. I’ve been able to introduce kids savings accounts and provide direct deposit training for new companies banking with us, all while tying in financial education tips.”

Mary LangeJocelyn CarbyMary Lange and Jocelyn Carby have coordinated the Texas Financial Literacy Summit for all 18 years of its existence. For more information, contact [email protected] or [email protected].

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