Fueling Financial Literacy In Rural Colorado

Fueling Financial Literacy In Rural Colorado

First Southwest Bank • May 16, 2018


First Southwest Bank is committed to supporting and participating in the communities where we live and work, like being actively involved in the financial education of our youth. Our partnership with Teach Children to Save and Banzai helps to instill the importance of savings goals, tracking finances and delayed gratification in local students.

Teach Children to Save Day (TCTS), sponsored by the ABA Foundation, is an opportunity for bankers to teach youth in our communities the value of saving. This year First Southwest Bank employees joined more than 245,000 other banker volunteers in visiting local elementary schools. They were able to share stories, worksheets, resources, and games with over 290 students at six elementary schools spanning from Cortez to Saguache.


To further their financial literacy efforts, First Southwest Bank also provides Banzai, a national award-winning financial literacy program to high schools throughout our footprint. Students using the program are exposed to real-life scenarios where they combat parking tickets, interest charges, new credit cards, overdraft fees, auto loans, bank statements, entertainment costs, starting and maintaining savings accounts, balancing a budget, bill pay, and more!

“Banzai is a truly unique program because it presents various financial scenarios to students in an interactive, fun, game like environment,” says Roxanne DeMarco, Community Development Director at First Southwest Bank. “Through the program, students are having fun while learning critical financial management skills. We have offered the program for less than six months and have already reached over 1100 students in 15 different schools, I look forward to building upon that impact!”


Students that participated in the program had the following takeaways:

  • “I was reminded to take care of small things first that could lead to bigger things later.”

  • “There’s so much more that you have to take into consideration while budgeting. It isn’t just your house, your car, and your food.”

  • “It is very wise to always save money for emergencies, as well as college.” ‚Äč

Financial literacy programs such as these have been shown to produce fewer maxed out credit cards, higher savings accounts, on-time bill pay, and more effective comparison shopping for students later in life. The main goal is to teach differentiation between essential and non-essential purchases, setting students up for future financial success. More from our interview with KRZA, the public radio station in Alamosa.

Both programs are sponsored by First Southwest Bank and are free for the community. For more information on how to get your school involved in one of these financial literacy programs, please contact Roxanne DeMarco at roxanne.demarco@fswb.com or 970-731-6952.