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Bank app helps kids learn to manage money

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT
Monica Maschak - National Bank and Trust created a new free app called Banker Jr. for children to help them learn about finances and how to save money.

SYCAMORE – The National Bank & Trust Co. has an app it hopes will teach children how to do more than just save money in their piggy bank.

The bank, headquartered in Sycamore, introduced the Banker Jr. app on Nov. 18. Since its release, there have been more than 172 downloads.

The free app, targeted for toddlers and elementary schoolchildren, offers games and other functions to teach kids about financial literacy, said Tami Armstrong, NB&T vice president and marketing director.

"What we're trying to do is teach financial literacy to kids in our community in a channel they're already using every day," Armstrong said.

The app, available for download in the iTunes store and Google Play, includes games that teach children how to count, save and budget their money. One game spills coins out of a piggy bank, and children have to separate and count the coins.

Users do not have to be NB&T customers to use the app, and there are no real bank accounts or money tied to the app.

The app also can work as a check register, allowing children to manually enter how much money they've saved up to keep track of their savings, Armstrong said.

"It's a way to train students when they're doing online banking," she said. "They're learning how to save money."

The app will launch a version for middle schoolers by the end of this year, Armstrong said, and the bank has plans to offer it to high school students as well.

It's all part of NB&T's effort to teach kids how to be financially responsible, Armstrong said.

"Children who learn to save do better in school, go to college and have a better outlook on life," she said. "As a community bank, we care for and have a vested interest for the community."

NB&T has 10 locations throughout DeKalb, LaSalle and Kane counties, including two locations in both DeKalb and Sycamore.

The bank also is exploring the idea of working with schoolteachers to help teach kids math and money skills by using the app, Armstrong said.

"This is a way to help enhance [children's] lives by training them and building good financial habits so they may be more successful adults," she said.