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First Security opens mock bank for elementary students

Gibbs elementary principal Tina Greenwood celebrates the opening of new First Security Mock Bank
Maggie Ryan
Little Rock Public Radio
Gibbs Elementary Principal Tina Greenwood celebrates the opening of new First Security Mock Bank on Thursday.

First Security Bank celebrated the opening of a new branch inside a Little Rock elementary school Thursday. Students at Gibbs Magnet Elementary can now create their own savings accounts and deposit funds at the school’s new mock bank.

Gibbs Principal Tina Greenwood says the bank will give students a chance to learn financial responsibility.

“The possibilities are endless here. Opening this bank branch here also brings forth student leadership.”

Andrea Lewis is a community outreach officer with First Security and a member of the Little Rock City Board of Directors. She says First Security is rooted in the community and wants to build relationships with young people from the ground up.

“I am excited at the opportunity that we have young people saving money, and that’s what it's all about.”

She says it's important for kids to understand financial literacy from an early age.

“If we can catch them early then they will be adults who won’t have some of the financial issues we hear about today.”

Lewis adds students will deposit real money into savings accounts, and the bank is staffed by student employees.

“Staff at First Security will be here to supervise and to make sure everything balances correctly.” Lewis said. “We are giving them the opportunity to learn some basic banking skills, customer service skills, and they are able to see what it’s like to work at a bank and to make those deposits and have fun with it.”

Former banker and current Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. also spoke at the opening. He said he’s excited students will have a firsthand opportunity to learn about banking.

“I’m really excited to see that our children will have this commitment from first security to have this bank here not only to save and understand financial literacy but to truly understand what it means to be a banker.”

Student tellers received training from First Security Bank employees before the official opening. This will be the fourth mock bank operating in Little Rock. According to Gibbs Elementary principal Greenwood, students across the Little Rock school district have already saved $90,000 using on-campus branches.

Maggie Ryan is a reporter and local host of All Things Considered for Little Rock Public Radio.