CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 2, 2005--Today, hundreds of young
students at Socorro Sandoval School on Chicago's South Side are
piquing their "interest" in saving and managing money through
Washington Mutual's interactive School Savings program. Students
gathered allowances, couch change and birthday money to deposit into
their new interest-bearing savings accounts, which they will open
today with the help of the bank, school educators and parent
Launched over 80 years ago, Washington Mutual's School Savings
program has taught hundreds of thousands of youngsters nationwide the
importance of saving. Nearly 280,000 children at more than 1,500
schools nationwide, including nearly 60 schools in Chicagoland, are
learning the value of saving through the program, which offers a
regular "Bank Day" at participating schools like Socorro Sandoval
where students can make their deposits.
To invigorate the financial literacy campaign at the Socorro
Sandoval School, and raise excitement among the students for saving
money, Washington Mutual bankers set up a mini bank branch in the
cafeteria, complete with bank visuals and a Teller Tower, one of the
trademark elements of Washington Mutual's unique retail banking
stores. Washington Mutual entered the Chicago retail banking landscape
in June 2003 and currently has 163 branches in the Chicagoland area.
"By learning to save at a young age, kids gain an early
appreciation for the basics of money management," said Tony Manisco,
senior vice president and group manager for Washington Mutual's retail
bank in Chicagoland. "Ultimately, we are teaching sound money
management skills designed to last a lifetime. This program benefits
our customers, our communities, and our company."
Washington Mutual retail banking stores offer the program
nationwide and help parent groups such as local school councils to be
sponsors. Several times a month, 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.
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 more.
Washington Mutual believes that it is important to use its
experience with financial matters to help educate children about
making the right choices as adults and customers. According to the
Jump$tart Coalition, the average student who graduates from high
school lacks basic skills in the management of personal finance
"As an educator, it's gratifying to see students learn the
practical value of saving -- and be excited about it," said Dr. David
Espinoza, principal of Socorro Sandoval School. "They bring in
hard-earned chore money, quarter by quarter, dollar by dollar. As they
see the deposits add up they begin to imagine how to use the money
down the road -- for college tuition and books, a new car to get to
their job, or even a great graduation vacation."
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 retail banking store. 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.
About Washington Mutual:
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
September 30, 2005, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets
of $333.62 billion. Washington Mutual currently operates more than
2,500 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
Missy Cousino, 312-429-3059 (office); 713-594-9332 (cell)
Shane Winn, 312-429-3052 (office); 773-343-6802 (cell)
SOURCE: Washington Mutual