Walsingham Academy and Middleburg Bank will spend this year trying to convince students to skip the candy and toy aisles, and put their allowance in savings.
The private school and bank have joined forces to introduce the school’s new Middle School Economic Education course, taught by Sandy Croushore. Sixth- and seventh-graders signed up to take the class, which will allow them to get a taste of working in the finance industry when they open a school bank this fall.
Every other week, students in the Lower School will visit the “bank,” where a Middleburg Bank employee will help the Economic Education students take deposits and issue balance statements. Students will have an opportunity to open one of Middleburg’s Cool Fox savings accounts, which compound interest quarterly and have no service fees if the child is under 18.
The minimum deposit will be $1, and Middleburg will match the first deposit with $5. Students won’t be able to withdraw money from their accounts unless they visit Middleburg Bank with their parents. Eventually, the bank hopes to enable students to check their account balances using the iPads Walsingham issued every student starting this year.
Middleburg Bank’s Vice President of Marketing Mike Maddocks, a Walsingham alumnus and parent, hopes the course will instill good financial habits in the students at a young age. “There are a number of banks doing similar programs now, and I’m hoping it will have a positive effect on our country,” he said.
Financial lessons are especially important following the recession. “The recent economic malaise has been attributed to many things, one of which was consumers taking on too much debt or not knowing how to manage their finances as well as they should,” Maddocks said. “We should talk about it early on before people start getting checking accounts.”
He envisions the students learning the concept of working towards a financial goal, as he did when his parents gave him a loan to buy a $380 boat from Sears. “My mom kept a ledger and added interest and I had to work toward paying it off,” Maddocks said, laughing.