MB&T is Working to Close the Financial Literacy Gap
January 30, 2024
Montecito Bank & Trust is Working to Close the Financial Literacy Gap
Santa Barbara, Calif. – More than 2,100 students and adults participated in over 270 hours of financial literacy classes offered by Montecito Bank & Trust (MB&T) associates in 2023. Complete with lessons, activities and in some classes the opportunity to open accounts on the spot, MB&T associates cover foundational topics from establishing goals, determining needs vs wants, budgeting and banking basics, to the importance of saving, understanding credit and investment basics, and protecting one’s information.
Janet Garufis, Chairman & CEO, believes that “One of the many ways we can best serve our community is to increase the financial knowledge and create comfortable environments for residents, businesses, and nonprofits to discuss financial matters. Recent studies highlight the growing gap in financial literacy across the country and here in California; our associates are eager to be a part of the solution. By providing this critical information, we can help empower youth and adults to be more prepared with the knowledge they need to make informed financial decisions now and in the future.”
Working with schools and client organizations across Santa Barbara and Ventura County, some of the partnerships have included a 3-week series with the United Way of Santa Barbara County’s Fun in the Sun Summer program, bi-monthly Zoom classes for adults with the Housing Authority of the City of San Buenaventura and participation in the annual American Bankers Association Teach Children to Save Day program. After attending one of the Bank’s workshops, a local high school student said, “I have never heard about these topics, so it feels really good to learn about ways I can start saving today to invest in my future, and I am going home and share with my parents too.”
In partnership with the Audacious Foundation, the Bank also opened over 75 savings accounts for 9th graders in Santa Barbara Unified School District’s Program for Effective Access to College (PEAC). In addition to the Foundation’s $50 opening deposit contribution, MB&T offers a one-time $25 savings incentive to students who maintain at least a $50 balance for six months. Brianna Aguilar, AVP Events & Community Programs Officer at MB&T, notes “This unique program not only provides a financial incentive and inspires financial confidence, but our family night workshop also brings families together to learn about saving and investing and talk through what can be intimidating topics.”
Taking their focus on financial literacy one step further, the Bank has introduced a partnership with Greenlight®, a company whose mission is to empower parents to raise financially smart, independent kids and teens, through an engaging mobile app and debit card. The app’s Level Up™ interactive, curriculum- based financial literacy game engages kids with fun games, quizzes, and lessons that go beyond the National Standards for K-12 Personal Financial Education to empower young people with money skills and confidence. Excited about this partnership, Ms. Garufis commented, “As local families face an increasingly complex financial environment, this partnership offers an innovative, fun, and real-world solution to give kids hands-on money management experience and parents the ability to send money and monitor spending.” Montecito Bank & Trust customers can learn more and sign up online for a complimentary subscription at https://montecito.bank/personal/additional-services-greenlight.
Montecito Bank & Trust is the oldest and largest locally owned community bank in the Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Founded in 1975, the bank celebrated its 48th anniversary on March 17, 2023, and operates 13 branch offices in Santa Maria, Solvang, Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Carpinteria, Ventura, Camarillo and Westlake Village. Montecito Bank & Trust has a history of unwavering corporate philanthropy in the local communities it serves. 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; mortgage loans, consumer loans; credit cards; merchant services; and online services, including mobile banking and cash management. Its Wealth Management Division provides comprehensive trust services and full investment management for all branch office markets. The Bank has earned 27 Best Bank awards in the last 11 years, in addition to numerous accolades for Best Mortgage and Best Financial Services Company in Santa Barbara, Best Investment Company in Santa Ynez Valley and the fourth Best Bank to Work For in the United States (American Banker Magazine).