ChoiceOne Bank is honored to receive a Financial Literacy award once again from the Michigan Bankers Association (MBA). ChoiceOne Vice President of Marketing, Danielle Chateauvert, accepted the 2023 award at the MBA Best Conference held recently in Traverse City.
“We are honored to once again receive the MBA Financial Literacy Award,” said ChoiceOne President Michael J. Burke, Jr. “As ChoiceOne celebrates 125 years as a community bank this year, financial well-being is still at the heart of all we do to improve and promote financial literacy in our communities. Our employees volunteer thousands of hours every year helping children and families become more financially stable and secure for their futures. In addition, ChoiceOne donates hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to assist with financial literacy in the communities the Bank serves.”
MBA 2023 Financial Literacy Award
“The MBA Financial Literacy Award acknowledges our industry’s outstanding work in financial literacy education and what member banks provide to our customers and communities,” said Chateauvert. “ChoiceOne was recognized for the significant inroads we made in financial literacy education in 2022. Our award was based on three areas: youth financial education programs, adult financial education and homebuyer programs, and Plinqit – a goal-based savings tool that provides financial education for anyone over 18 years old.”
The following Youth Financial Education Programs are ongoing programs that keep perpetuating and reaching more children and their families in our communities each year. Most of these programs address the growing needs of the low-and moderate-income households who also experience food insecurity.
- KickStart to Career is part of a national program focusing on financial literacy and savings, lifting children from poverty to prosperity. Over 50% of the students within the Muskegon and Newaygo county schools ChoiceOne has partnered with are on the Free and Reduced Lunch Program according to USDA guidelines. Our commitment includes providing accounts and financial literacy. This program allows our staff to educate over 1,200 students per grade on basic principles of money beginning with Kindergarten.
- Lapeer Education Attainment Fund(LEAF) is children's savings program through the Lapeer County Community Foundation (LCCF) designed to help students start saving for college or career training expenses. LEAF provides kindergartners with a savings account seeded with $25 and is designed to help students start saving for college or career training expenses. LEAF also provides financial education to students and parents. Students learn about savings and planning for their future.
- Junior Achievementâ (JA) is about empowering young people to own their economic success.â ChoiceOne Bank partners with JA of the Michigan Great Lakes to teach financial literacy in participating schools within the Bank’s footprint that receive more than 50% Free and Reduced Lunch Program. Our employees volunteer in schools to share their professional and personal experiences.
- Teach Children to Save is offered through the American Bankers Association Foundation. We partner with Teach Children to Save to present financial literacy within local schools in the Bank’s footprint that receive more than 50% of Free and Reduced Lunch Program. Our employee volunteers help elementary and middle schoolers learn good savings habits using educational standards in personal finance while reinforcing math concepts, language arts, and other academic disciplines.
- Banzai provides Online Financial Education. ChoiceOne invests in this program as it increases accessibility to financial literacy when other programs are unavailable. Banzai is an interactive, award-winning course that has taught millions of students real-world finance. ChoiceOne has sponsored 20 schools, served 34 teachers, and educated over 3,000 students since 2018 with 540 students enrolled in 2022.
These Adult Financial Education and Homebuyer Programs and nonprofits help adults with financial literacy and the ability to purchase a home. Affordable housing will continue to be a major concern across the country especially for first-time homeowners as well as those needing rental properties. Homelessness in Michigan continues to increase in all markets emphasizing the critical needs of our community partners. ChoiceOne sponsors organizations that focus on economic development and financial literacy in minority and low-income communities.
- Fresh Start Credit Builder Program (Fresh Start CD Loan) is a program intended to teach and help those without credit to establish credit in an easy and affordable way.
- Family Literacy Center – A non-profit organization, founded in 1980, to support and provide adult tutoring, child tutoring, and family programs at no cost to participants. The Center strives to help people in the Lapeer community reach their literacy goals.
- Growers Program – With ChoiceOne’s Banking the Unbanked or Growers Program, employees meet farm workers, many of whom are migrant workers, at their place of employment when they are unable to travel to branches to conduct business.
- Road to Homeownership Facebook Private Group. ChoiceOne Bank created a Facebook Private Group to educate home buyers who prefer social media groups for easier and convenient learning. This group provides videos and content to help followers successfully work toward buying a home. Educational videos and topics include How to Manage Expenses, What Makes Up a Credit Score, How to Improve a Credit Score, Budgeting and Mortgage Basics.
- Muskegon Oceana Community Action Partnership (MOCAP)
Muskegon Oceana Community Action Partnership (MOCAP), for which ChoiceOne is a partner, helps homeowners and the senior citizens in Muskegon County to ensure the issue of hardship and its causes are addressed in Muskegon and Oceana counties. MOCAP fights to end poverty in these counties. Some of the programs offered include an energy assistance program, food assistance program, rent assistance, water programs, and homebuyers’ programs.
- GreenPath Financial Wellness, is a trusted national nonprofit focused on financial wellness for everyone. ChoiceOne supports GreenPath which provides counseling for credit, debt, homebuying, foreclosure, bankruptcy, and other financial literacy topics.
Plinqit is a platform that provides a fun, goal-based savings tool. Plinqit users improve their financial literacy through Plinqit’s patented Build Skills™. Users can take quizzes and get money added to their savings goal. Customers securely link their Plinqit account to their checking account, set a savings goal and automatically set aside a small amount of money at a schedule they choose. Users can save towards multiple goals, and many users create emergency funds. Many of ChoiceOne’s customers reach their initial goal, with the majority creating new goals to continue saving.
“ChoiceOne Bank is on a never-ending quest to support our community, schools, businesses, and nonprofits to encourage financial wellness for all ages in the communities ChoiceOne serves across our footprint,” said Burke. “It has always been our philosophy that healthy families, farmers and businesses make for healthy communities. Celebrating our 125th Anniversary in 2023, we are proud our history and our ChoiceOne teams as they continue to fulfill our mission to provide superior service, quality advice and show our utmost respect to everyone we meet.”
About Michigan Bankers Association (MBA)
Founded in 1887, the Michigan Bankers Association (MBA) is a trade association of Michigan financial institutions which currently includes more than 2,300 branches located throughout the state with combined assets of over $150 billion. For more information see https://www.mibankers.com/.