Job Seeker’s Toolkit
The success of the homeowner re-employment program encouraged us to find a way to increase its impact beyond our distressed mortgage borrowers. Among the most important components of the program are the online job training modules. In July 2013, we made that portion of the program available to all of our online bank customers. Putting the Job Seeker’s Toolkit on www.53.com magnified the reach of our job assistance and its use steadily increased throughout the year. The toolkit enabled any Bank customer who was unemployed, under-employed or seeking a change in career direction to take advantage of this valuable service for free.
In August, we extended this program even further. We made it available on our two Financial Empowerment Mobiles, or eBuses, which are 40-foot buses equipped with Internet-accessible workstations. With this move, consumers living in low- and moderate-income communities—even those who were not customers—gained access to quality education about how to enter or advance in today’s job market.
Financial Empowerment Mobiles
The eBuses took to the streets in 2013 to bring the Job Seeker’s Toolkit and a variety of other financial counseling and education services to low- and moderate-income individuals and communities and the 20.1 percent of households who are financially underserved in the Fifth Third service area. Our financial classrooms on wheels were the feature at 229 events and visited 105 cities.
We staff the eBuses with our professional bankers who offer financial counseling, education and referral assistance. We met with close to 58,300 individuals last year to provide free credit reports and credit counseling, loss mitigation and foreclosure prevention, and tax filing assistance. We also open checking and savings accounts and offer online banking training.
eBus tour stops often become community-wide events that bring together government, social service and other agencies with our Company to help people with a wide variety of needs. Financial Empowerment Mobile events are typically held at local community centers, churches, schools and shopping centers.
The Young Bankers Club
Fifth Third’s first steps into the world of financial empowerment began nine years ago with the creation of the Fifth Third Bank Young Bankers Club (YBC). A financial literacy program for fifth-grade students, YBC teaches students basic lessons about money and money management.
YBC, which meets national and state standards in mathematics, is taught in elementary schools in most Fifth Third affiliates, often by a Fifth Third banker. In recent years, the program expanded online to allow the teacher greater flexibility and to incorporate grade-level activities like a video game challenge.
Last year, Young Bankers Club graduated students in new markets, including North Carolina, Kentucky and Western Michigan. More than 2,100 students graduated from Young Bankers Club last year, and more than 11,000 students throughout the Fifth Third Bank footprint have graduated since 2004.
Teach Children to Save
Fifth Third Bank sponsors the American Bankers Teach Children to Save for eighth-grade students. Offered in several of our affiliate markets, the program emphasizes saving for the future and helps teens appreciate the value of delayed gratification and hard work.
TCTS is a signature program of the ABA Education Foundation, which engages bankers to help kids develop a lifelong savings habit. Fifth Third Bank employees deliver the Teach Children to Save curriculum to students. We helped educate more than 5,000 students through TCTS in 2013.
Foundations in Personal Finance
In 2010, Fifth Third Bank and national financial expert Dave Ramsey embarked on a landmark alliance in which the Bank would pay for the teaching of Ramsey’s financial education program—Foundations in Personal Finance—in local high schools. Just three years later, the alliance had educated more than 500,000 students.
We’re pleased to report that, at the conclusion of 2013, we signed an agreement to continue sponsoring the curriculum for another three years. Assuming the current success rate continues, Fifth Third and Ramsey will have educated over one million high school juniors by 2017.
Behind each number is one student whose life has likely been changed for the better. Many parents of students who’ve gone through the program tell us that they wished they had learned personal finance in high school and are comforted knowing their children received this valuable instruction before entering college.
In 2013, we took our alliance with Ramsey beyond our sponsorship of the course in high schools. Building from a foundation begun by Ramsey’s team, we offered three $5,000 scholarships to students who scored 100 percent on a financial literacy challenge to help with future college expenses.