Kansas bank praised for financial literacy efforts

Silver Lake Bank has been highlighted by the Kansas state treasurer for its student-run branch in a local high school.

With the help of the Auburn-Washburn Unified School District, Topeka-based Silver Lake Bank set up a branch inside Washburn Rural High School and put the task of running the bank almost entirely in the hands of the students.

Jake LaTurner

Treasurer Jake LaTurner visited the school and helped produce a video of the operation in which he praised Silver Lake’s efforts to foster financial literacy. He also suggested other banks follow its lead in creating student-run branches.

“In a world where credit is being offered to our kids at every turn, it is more important now than ever for us to be teaching the next generation about money; how to use it, how not to use it, and most importantly how to save and invest it for their future. This school-bank partnership is a fantastic way to do just that,” LaTurner said.

In the model used at WRHS, students and faculty are encouraged to make regular deposits, using incentives to teach the students to save their money. Students who work in the branch also acquire a working knowledge of the world of finance and job skills .

In addition to the lessons on saving, the school also uses the branch to streamline cash-handling by student clubs and organizations. Tickets for school dances, fees for band trips, spirit wear and much more are purchased through the school bank. This alleviates the need for faculty advisors to keep the books for extra-curricular clubs and organizations. 

“Everyone I have spoken to that has been involved with this project says it has been well worth the time and investment,” LaTurner said. “We hope that the success of this program will inspire other school districts and their local banks to team up and try it. These kinds of efforts to educate the rising generation on the proper handling of money, investing and saving can have a lasting effect on their future.”