2014-04-25 / Community

Biddeford Savings teaches financial literacy to students


Rhonda Hebert, assistant vice president and branch manager of the Biddeford Savings Kennebunk office, offers financial pointers to Wells High School students, from left, Charlie Bell, Desirae, Marc McClellan and McKayla Batchelder. 
(Courtesy photo) Rhonda Hebert, assistant vice president and branch manager of the Biddeford Savings Kennebunk office, offers financial pointers to Wells High School students, from left, Charlie Bell, Desirae, Marc McClellan and McKayla Batchelder. (Courtesy photo) Recognizing that high school students will graduate and leave the care and comfort of the home environment to begin their own lives, executives from Biddeford Savings have been visiting area schools to teach the basics of financial literacy.

The program, How To Do Your Banking, teaches students how to manage a checkbook, stick to a budget, save money, find the best source for loans, and establish good credit history – all important skills toward becoming financially savvy. The bank has shared the program at Wells and Kennebunk high schools.

The bank provides teachers with the sourcebook to oversee the course as well as the hands-on experience of bank executives, such as Rhonda Hebert, assistant vice president and branch manager of the bank’s Kennebunk office. She recently spent several hours with a class of Wells High School students. Hebert was joined by George Raftopoulos of NVEST Financial in Kennebunk, who shared his insights into investments, financial planning, stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

“Basic financial skills are so important to young people entering the world after high school,” said Hebert. “Some students receive instruction at home; but there are many more who have no familiarity with the everyday financial skills that many adults take for granted – managing a checkbook, understanding the loan process, forecasting monthly income, planning monthly expenses and even saving money.

“How To Do Your Banking provides a big picture view of daily finance and walks them through some of the more critical skills so that they have the basic tools they need to manage their finances after high school.”

Students eventually visit a bank so they can see first hand how to use the services available, such as an ATM, debit cards, online bill paying and mobile banking.

According to Hebert, students are engaged in learning about financial services because they recognize the important role it will play in their lives.

“I had one student who told me that he had watched his parents write checks, pay bills, deposit money and use the ATM but never understood what they were doing and why,” she recalls. “As adults, we take these processes for granted. As students, it’s often a mystery. We want to change that.

“At Biddeford Savings, we believe that our mission is to show our customers the path to prosperity,” adds Hebert. “The financial literacy program is just one step in teaching students skills that will allow them to prosper and grow as they become older adults.”

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