Executive Letter: Highlight Your Financial Education Efforts

Rose Oswald PoelsFrom the Desk of Rose Oswald Poels

Every day, bankers throughout the state make remarkable efforts to assist their neighbors in building a solid financial future. This tradition often goes above and beyond the normal role of bankers — taking them into classrooms or community centers — and has proved time and time again the value of the connections formed by community bankers in assisting Wisconsinites of all ages to gain important financial education. Our industry does not get enough recognition for all it does since bankers are often quick to deflect attention and praise to others.

This article serves as a reminder of the various recognition and awards that you — individually and as a bank — may apply for. I encourage all of you to take the time to apply and be recognized for the dedicated and often creative work you do to improve financial education.

Individual Financial Education Efforts

The Wisconsin Bankers Foundation (WBF) recognizes individual bankers for their financial literacy efforts throughout its fiscal year. Bankers are able to submit summary forms recognizing each presentation, visit, or volunteer time spent with classrooms and community members focused on increasing financial literacy. WBF compiles total numbers of presentations and/or outreach events and awards bankers based on these totals. I highly encourage bankers to submit their forms reflecting their individual efforts in financial education from June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022 by the July 31 deadline. To begin submitting your summary forms, visit www.smr.to/p80094. These awards are presented in the fall at WBA’s Lead360 Conference.


Bank-Wide Financial Education Efforts

WBF also recognizes banks as institutions for the aggregate time spent by employees during the period from June 1, 2021 through May 31, 2022 on financial education efforts. Since this award is based on the aggregate time spent by each bank on financial education initiatives, several banks may win this award. In addition, a bank may also submit an application for WBF’s most prestigious award, the Financial Education Innovation Award. This award recognizes only one member bank for its innovative approach to financial education. To learn more about WBF’s bank-wide awards or submit the summary form by July 31, visit www.smr.to/p77960.

WBF’s Bank Award

The Bank Award compiles the various financial education efforts put forth by the whole bank and showcases the tremendous work done by all employees. This award is presented in the fall at WBA’s Lead360 Conference.

WBF’s Financial Education Innovation Award

The Financial Education Innovation Award recognizes one bank for adopting an innovative, creative, and/or unique approach to financial education annually. Now presented at WBA’s Bank Executives Conference in February, this well-deserved honor recognizes a bank’s innovative approach to financial education.


2022 Governor’s Financial Literacy Awards

In addition to submitting a summary of financial education activities and efforts to WBF for recognition, I highly encourage bankers around the state to also consider applying for one of three categories of the 2022 Governor’s Financial Literacy Awards.

Recipients are selected by a subcommittee of the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy and Capability based on their excellence in increasing financial literacy, capability, and inclusion among Wisconsin residents. I am proud to be a member of this Governor’s Council but have noted that in the past few years very few banks have been applying for this recognition all the while credit unions are applying. The awards highlight individuals, businesses/organizations, and legacy efforts throughout the state to improve financial education.

I highly encourage banks to share their financial education efforts by submitting the 2022 Governor’s Financial Literacy nomination form by the December 2 deadline for the chance to be recognized for the outstanding work bankers engage in every day. The nomination forms are now available, so do not wait until later this year to submit your bank’s nomination.