SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 26, 2004--School is just around the
corner and gearing up as well is a popular bank program offered by
Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM) and designed to encourage an early
'interest' in savings habits and money management skills.
Launched over 80 years ago, Washington Mutual's School Savings(R)
program has taught hundreds of thousands of youngsters nationwide the
importance of saving. Currently, more than 214,000 children at more
than 1,200 schools are learning the value of saving through the
program, which offers a weekly 'Bank Day' at participating schools
where students can make their deposits.
"By learning to save at a young age, kids gain an early
appreciation for the basics of money management," said Amy Lee,
Program Manager in community marketing at Washington Mutual.
"Ultimately, we are teaching sound money management skills designed to
last a lifetime. In fact, countless customers who grew up with the
School Savings program and are now adults have later enhanced their
financial future with CDs, money-market accounts, and other products.
This program benefits our customers, our communities, and our
Washington Mutual retail banking stores (branches) offer the
program nationwide and help parent groups such as PTAs to be
sponsors. Once a week, parents and other volunteers help students with
their banking at school then deliver the deposits to a local branch.
Washington Mutual provides the opening deposit of 25 cents for each
participating student. The interest earning savings account is
FDIC-insured and is free for students up to the age of 19.
After each transaction, students are given a receipt and are
taught to record and track deposits in their own School Savings
register. The bank mails savers a quarterly statement summarizing
deposits, withdrawals and interest earned.
A variety of incentives keep students interested. For example,
savers receive their School Savings Tracking Guide, which helps chart
their savings progress toward fun surprises such as rulers, markers,
water bottles and other fun items.
"It's gratifying to see students learn the value of saving," added
Lee. "They bring in hard-earned chore money, quarter by quarter,
dollar by dollar. Eventually, it's like a light goes on in their minds
when they realize that deposits can really add up."
In addition to the School Savings program, Washington Mutual
offers mini-courses in banking and finance for K-12 students. The
workshops come complete with presentation materials and handouts. One
popular kit is "Introduction to Money," which explains what money is,
why we use it, and how to keep it safe. High school-oriented
presentations range from classes on maintaining a checking account to
credit management and other topics.
Washington Mutual offers these tips to encourage kids to save:
-- Give your young child a piggy bank. Children enjoy depositing
coins and bills and learn that small amounts of money can add
up to real savings. It's an easy and hands-on way to introduce
the saving concept.
-- Open a free, interest-bearing account for kids at your local
Washington Mutual financial center. Teach your kids to review
deposits entered and interest earned on their quarterly
-- Encourage youngsters to earn their own money, allocating part
of their allowance or earnings for savings. One grandparent
shared what she called her "401(k)" approach to encouraging
her granddaughter to save. She matched dollar for dollar any
amount her granddaughter saved.
-- Help kids set savings goals. A younger child might want to
save for a favorite toy, while an older one might see the
value in starting to save for a car or college. The whole idea
is to teach your kids to defer spending now so that they learn
the advantage of saving for a larger purchase later.
With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual is a
retailer of financial services that provides a diversified line of
products and services to consumers and commercial clients. At June 30,
2004, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets of $278.54
billion. Washington Mutual currently operates more than 2,400 retail
banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking and financial services
offices throughout the nation. Washington Mutual's press releases are
available at www.wamunewsroom.com.
CONTACT: Washington Mutual
Mary Kelley, 206-377-6878
Lisa Lucas, 206-377-6201
SOURCE: Washington Mutual