Fifth Third Bank

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is financial literacy?

A. Financial literacy is knowledge about personal finance, which enables consumers to confidently manage their financial lives.

Q. Why is financial literacy important?

A. When it comes to managing a budget, paying bills and knowing the right financial services to utilize or not utilize, knowledge is power. Understanding personal finance and possessing the discipline to budget enables consumers to have the money they need to meet their personal goals in life.

Q. What’s the difference between financial literacy and financial empowerment?

A. Financial empowerment is the umbrella term Fifth Third Bank uses to define our commitment to providing individuals of all ages with the financial knowledge they need to be successful in life. We want to help people become financially literate so that they are empowered to make their future dreams a reality.

Q. Why does Fifth Third Bank emphasize financial empowerment?

A. Because it’s the right thing to do—and because we’re a company comprised of professional money managers equipped with the skill set to teach personal finance. Those skills, combined with the role our Bank plays in the economies of our communities and in the individual lives of our customers, places us in the right position to empower people financially. We’re investing a significant amount of our financial and human resources to educate people so that they possess the skills to manage their financial lives confidently.

Q. What programs does Fifth Third Bank offer to empower people financially?

A. Fifth Third Bank has long-supported programs that help people get educated about finance through sponsorships of programs offered by organizations like Junior Achievement and the American Bankers Association.

In 2004, we made two significant investments in financial education when we launched the Fifth Third Bank Young Bankers Club for elementary school students and deployed the Fifth Third Bank Empowerment Mobile, or eBus, into underserved communities. In 2009, during the economic crisis, we launched a financial tip initiative to help people emerge through difficult circumstances. In 2010, we formed an alliance with nationally-recognized money management expert Dave Ramsey to sponsor his financial education course in high schools throughout our operational footprint.

Q. What is Young Bankers Club?

A. Young Bankers Club is Fifth Third Bank’s signature financial literacy course designed for fifth-grade students. It is a 10-week program that is taught by Fifth Third Bank volunteers. Our employees enter fifth-grade classrooms each week to teach lessons about the importance of education, what money is and how people get it, how to save money and more. Our employees become mentors to the students as they teach the accredited curriculum and accompany them on a field trip to a Fifth Third Banking or Operations Center at the end of the course, just prior to their public graduation where they receive a certificate of completion.

The course was launched in Fifth Third Bank’s headquarters city of Cincinnati in the Cincinnati Public School district. It has since expanded throughout our geographic footprint. Nearly 6,000 kids have graduated from Young Bankers Club since its inception in 2004.

Q. I heard about a similar program for high school students. What about Smart Bankers Club?

A. Smart Bankers Club is our financial literacy program for ninth-grade students. It was successfully piloted in one school and future offerings are being considered in light of our sponsorship of Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance course in high schools throughout our footprint. We are very proud of Smart Bankers Club, which is a six-week course with lessons on budgeting and tracking spending habits. Its goal is to grow students’ comfort level when discussing finances, provide the tools to help them make sound financial decisions, and underscore the role that education plays in their future.

Q. Tell me about Fifth Third’s alliance with Dave Ramsey.

A. We are very excited to have formed an alliance with one of the nation’s most beloved money management experts to bring financial education to high school students throughout our footprint. We are doing this by sponsoring his high school financial literacy curriculum called Foundations in Personal Finance. Our sponsorship gets financial education—now legislatively mandated in most states—into public schools. We fully fund it so that neither the schools nor the students have to absorb additional costs to obtain these vital financial skills.

Q. What does Foundations in Personal Finance teach?

A. Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance offers four units with three chapters each. The units are Saving and Investing; Credit and Debt; Financial Responsibility and Money Management; and Insurance/Risk Management and Income/Careers.

Q. What does the course provide to teachers and school districts?

A. It’s a comprehensive program that is turn-key. No lesson plans have to be developed by the teachers because they are provided. The program teaches a curriculum that meets all state and national standards for personal finance and financial literacy. Teachers are trained and then given all the tools and materials needed to teach the course and they are assisted through video lessons taught by Dave Ramsey himself. It is a flexible program that can be taught in 45 or 90 days or the teacher can customize the program to meet the needs of his or her class.

Q. What is the Fifth Third Empowerment Mobile?

A. Also called the eBus, it is a 40-foot retrofitted bus that is equipped with onboard computer workstations and Internet connectivity through satellite technology. Deployed into communities throughout our markets in 2004, the eBus's original mission was to help people achieve the American dream of homeownership by providing one-on-one credit counseling sessions and access to financial services. When the country entered into a recession, the eBus’s mission expanded to include educating people in all areas of money management to empower them to take control of their financial lives.

The bus travels throughout communities and enables our employees to meet with individuals to give them tools to get out of debt, understand the use of credit, including its potential pitfalls, and get personal finance reviews. Through the bus, we help people in low- to moderate-income communities get access to financial services like savings accounts that reward them for saving money. In 2010, nearly 22,000 people attended our free eBus events, many of which were held at local community centers. We launched a second eBus this fall. It was dubbed eBus II and will enable us to reach even more people throughout our markets and bring access to financial services directly to them.