Students can see dividends with new SES bank

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By Stephen Thomas

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - At Shepherdsville Elementary students are now banking on their future.

With assistance from Republic Bank and the school’s Family Resource Center, the new First Dollar Stingray Bank is open for business at the school.

Stingray Bank is an actual working bank ran by Shepherdsville fifth grade students with only minor assistance from Republic. Each Friday students may deposit money into an individual personal savings account.

Shepherdsville Republic Bank president Dan Cline was familiar with the school, visiting each week as a volunteer with the Bullitt County Public Schools community reading program.

Cline credited banking center supervisor Liz Sadler with mentioning a similar school banking program in northern Kentucky. Shepherdsville was the second elementary school in the state to establish its own bank branch.

“That program involved a school with similar demographics and a similar size,” Cline said. “Any involvement with the school, I just like to do it.”

The local bank employees thought a program would be fun and beneficial to students.

“There’s savings, counting, planning, they can learn the importance of the dollar,” said Cline. “It shows students some financial responsibility.”

Cline, Sadler and bank teller Becky Owens visited Shepherdsville to train new Stingray Bank employees. Cline completed an interview process to help determine which students earned which jobs.

Fourteen fifth-grade employees were selected for jobs based on grades, class attendance, behavior and teacher recommendations. The Stingray Bank consists of a president, bank manager and three tellers, including a head teller.

A marketing team will create posters to promote the bank, while two human resources employees will oversee employees, making sure they are on time and dressed appropriately.

Family Resource Center coordinator Traci Gould said Stingray Bank employees would be paid in Stingray tickets for the school’s Stingray Store.

“The kids received shirts, name badges and calculators,” said Gould. “They are taking their roles so seriously.”

More important is the lesson plans involved in working with a bank or creating an account and learning responsibility, according to Cline.

“”It’s a learning tool that’s more than to get business experience,” she said. “Just learning the value of a dollar, learning savings at a young age and getting students in the habit of doing it.”

Gould added that the bank featured educational opportunities such as math skills and problem solving techniques.

The Stingray Bank is a deposit-only location. Students can only withdraw from their accounts at Republic with a parental signature.

Letters were sent home in advance to alert parents. Students were required to have a parental signature to open their accounts, along with a parental check.

To increase membership, Stingray Bank featured an opening day matching promise by Republic: For every student that deposited $10 into a personal savings account, Republic matched $10 more.

Gould said 70 accounts were created on opening day, with $700 in matching funds donated by Republic. She mentioned that future new accounts of $10 would still be matched by $5 from Republic.

Another 30 applications were taken home on opening day for parental signatures.

Gould mentioned that Shepherdsville teachers and staff members were allowed to open accounts for their children and grandchildren.

Future incentives include Republic offering another $5 for students who save as much as $50 and another $10 if they reach $100.

Cline implemented a challenge to other Bullitt County banks to create similar programs in other area schools.

“It will help bring some value to both the kids and the community,” he said.

First Dollar Stingray Bank employees include bank president Andrew Clinton; branch manager Chris Abbott; marketing manager Emily Cheshire; teller manager Dillan Rinker; new accounts specialist Tahlia Haynes and Megan Plush;  marketing team members Christian Hutchison, Blake Myers and Zeke Thompson;  bank tellers Amber Compton, Mackenzie Frye and Bethany Greenwell; human resources/payroll employees Makenzie Ball and Krista Moore.