By Rose Oswald Poels
Bankers have long been known as advocates for the wellbeing and prosperity of their communities. As the chair of the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation (WBF), our Association’s non-profit arm, I am pleased to recognize bankers who continually go above and beyond in their dedication to financial education.
From sharing insight on topics ranging from budgeting to credit in classrooms, shelters, and community centers to taking part in programming such as Teach Children to Save Day, bankers work to ensure their neighbors feel empowered to make informed financial decisions and have the ability to utilize financial services with confidence.
During the Foundation’s 2022–2023 fiscal year, over 24,700 community members in Wisconsin participated in financial education initiatives led by bankers. This outstanding achievement not only leaves a lifelong impact on community members young and old, but also illustrates the ongoing commitment of bankers in our state to promoting financial capability.
This year, the Foundation held its annual breakfast program at FLEX Retail & Marketing Summit (formerly LEAD360) to honor and celebrate the achievements of many banker volunteers. Thank you to the following bankers who continue to devote their time and expertise to expanding the financial literacy and capability of Wisconsinites.
Jen Yager and Paige Hyer of Royal Bank received the Foundation’s most prestigious Excellence in Financial Education Awards. Throughout the year, Jen conducted a remarkable 50 financial education events and was named as the 2022–2023 Financial Literacy Banker of the Year. Paige, who conducted an impressive 36 events, earned the Financial Literacy Banker Award. The Financial Literacy Banker of the Year and Financial Literacy Banker Award are presented to the bankers who participate in the most and second-most financial education-focused events, respectively. It is especially notable that Jen and Paige were new to volunteering in financial education this past year and have already achieved this level of success.
In addition to these awards, Jen and Paige were also recognized with a Certificate of Excellence alongside Katlein Detloff, Ladysmith Federal Savings & Loan Association; Sarah Rogers, Mound City Bank; Jaclyn Rutkowski and Jodi Vande Kolk, National Exchange Bank & Trust; and Jenean Friedl and Ashley Tabbert, Royal Bank. This certificate is presented to individual bankers who report participation in at least 20 financial education-focused events.
The Foundation also recognized 18 banks with the Excellence in Financial Education (Bank) Award for the bank’s organization-wide commitment to financial education and 48 individual bankers with a Certificate of Recognition for participating in between five and 19 presentations during the fiscal year. To see the full list of recipients, please visit wisbankfoundation.org/award-recipients.
WBF is proud to recognize the work of so many individuals and banks each year, and I invite you to continue sharing your financial literacy efforts from June 1, 2023 onward with the Foundation by completing the submission forms available on the Foundation’s website at any time throughout the year.
Furthermore, if your bank — or current employee(s) — has demonstrated an outstanding effort to increase financial literacy, capability, and inclusion among Wisconsin residents, I would encourage you to apply for the 2023 Governor’s Financial Literacy Awards before the deadline of Friday, December 1. These awards, which recognize both individuals and organizations, emphasize innovative, inclusive, and measurable efforts. Many credit unions are recognized for the work they do in this space as they routinely submit applications, and it would be nice to see the good work you all do recognized as well.
Again, thank you to all of the banker volunteers who continue our industry’s long-standing commitment to improving financial literacy and capability; your efforts do not go unnoticed and have lasting impacts throughout our community.