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Executive Letter: Ensuring Financial Success for Wisconsinites

Rose Oswald PoelsBy Rose Oswald Poels

Ensuring the financial success and prosperity of our community members is at the heart of the banking industry. Recently, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation released its National Financial Capability Study results, providing insights into the financial capability of U.S. adults. The findings are a helpful resource in understanding the financial circumstances of households in Wisconsin compared to the region and nation.

The summary of FINRA’s findings — split into specific sections such as making ends meet, planning ahead, managing financial products, and financial knowledge — underscore a few of the most important areas relating to financial literacy. Conducted June through October 2021, the results show that Wisconsinites stand ahead of the rest of the U.S. in many critical areas such as having emergency funds, a savings account, and a plan for their future.

Bankers play an important role in outreach efforts in your communities to equip consumers young and old with the knowledge and resources needed to achieve financial stability and prosperity.

In countless ways, Wisconsin bankers do so much to promote financially healthy communities. To support you in this work, the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation (WBF) serves as the hub for all things financial literacy. Annually, Wisconsin bankers venture into schools as part of Teach Children to Save Day in April using WBF’s Reading Raises Interest Kits. In addition, the Foundation is actively working to curate relevant resources bankers can use with people of all ages and levels of financial experience — please wisbankfoundation.org/resources to view what we have available now.

As a reminder, the 2022–2023 Financial Education Summary Forms are now open. Not only does the Foundation assist Wisconsin bankers in providing resources for all consumers, but we also celebrate these important contributions you make each day to our state. If your bank employees participate in any financial education-related event from June 1, 2022 through May 31, 2023, please submit a form as you go to record your activity. Questions related to WBF and resources available for your bank can be directed to Hannah Flanders, WBF coordinator.

Bankers should also be aware of programs such as America Saves, Wisconsin Saves, and ELEVATE Wisconsin that can be implemented in the office, shared with business customers, and members of the community.

  • America Saves: Accessible online guidance, best practices, and goals consumers can pledge themselves to.
  • ELEVATE Wisconsin: An online wellness program providing interactive, effective, and unbiased instruction in personal finance and investing fundamentals to Wisconsin employees.
  • Wisconsin Saves: Small- and medium-sized employers can promote to their employees the ease and benefits of saving automatically for emergencies through split deposit.

Thank you to every bank that assists our industry in continuing its commitment to serving and educating members our communities. Time and time again, data such as FINRA’s National Financial Capability Study reminds us of the strength in our industry — where we’ve come from and where we have yet to go.

*Graphs provided by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) based on information provided by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation National Financial Capability Survey.