Montecito Bank & Trust employees Rob Skinner, executive VP/general counsel and chief innovation officer, and financial literacy coordinator Brianna Aguilar discuss financial concepts with students as part of the National Teach Children to Save Day program. (Clint Weisman photo)

Taking a break from the bank branches and boardrooms to spend time in local classrooms has become a welcomed tradition for employees at Montecito Bank & Trust.

The bank has been supporting National Teach Children to Save Day for close to a decade. This year, during the first two weeks of April, 23 bank volunteers worked with over 1,000 students from 14 schools across Santa Barbara County. Working with students in grades K through 12, they discussed key financial topics including saving, budgeting and protecting personal information.

Robert Skinner, executive vice president and chief innovation officer, said, “Encouraging kids to think about how money works, early on, is an important part of creating a sustainable community. Our associates thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to come out here and interact with kids in the community. But we understand that you can’t just get involved once a year if you truly want to make a lasting impact. That’s why we are in these classrooms all year long, consistently working with kids to help provide a foundation of knowledge that will guide their learning for years to come.”

Joining Skinner in the classroom this year was KEYT reporter Victoria Sanchez and volunteers from the bank, including Judy Guillermo-Newton, senior vice president and director of organizational development and human resources, and Brianna Aguilar, who runs Montecito Bank & Trust’s Financial Literacy initiative.

“We teach students of all ages about the importance of saving, how to budget, and the impact it will have on their future,” Aguilar said “Whether it’s a debate with students about what’s really a need or a want or a discussion about making a budget to live on their own, it is so rewarding to see students understand the importance of saving and smart spending.

“We ultimately hope to make students aware of the responsibility that comes with having money by getting the conversation started and helping kids get on the path to making informed and wise financial decisions.”

Teach Children

Judy Guillermo-Newton, Montecito Bank & Trust senior VP/director of organizational development and human resources, helps students understand saving and spending concepts. (Clint Weisman photo)

The educational goals included teaching children the importance of saving, how to plan for their purchases, determining needs and wants, and how to make their money grow. Older children learned about the compounding of interest, budgeting for things like college and buying a car, and some credit card basics.

In all, 14 schools and organizations received a visit from Montecito Bank & Trust including: Adams Elementary, Adelante Charter School, Cleveland School, Ellwood School, Franklin Elementary, Harding School, Hollister School, La Patera Elementary School, McKinley School, Mountain View Elementary, Oak Valley Elementary, Santa Barbara Community Academy, Santa Barbara High School and Washington Elementary.

National Teach Children to Save Day, which began in 1997, is part of the American Bankers Association Education Foundation’s Teach Children to Save Program, committed to developing and providing education programs that lead to financial literacy. Each year thousands of bankers across the country trade in their balance sheets for blackboards to help fill the need for financial education in schools. To date, the program has reached over 5 million students. Montecito Bank & Trust is working hard to help achieve this worthy goal.

Montecito Bank & Trust, an S Corporation, is the oldest and largest locally-owned community bank in the tri-counties. Founded in 1975, with branch offices located in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Solvang, Montecito, Carpinteria, Ventura and Westlake Village, and a Financial Services Center in Camarillo, the bank offers a variety of competitive deposit and lending solutions for businesses and consumers, including business loans and lines of credit; commercial real estate finance; SBA loans; consumer loans; credit cards; merchant services; and online services, including mobile banking and cash management. Its Wealth Management Division provides full investment management as well as trust services for all branch office markets.

— Andy Silverman is a communication specialist for Montecito Bank & Trust.