Bank President's Book Aims To Inspire Financial Literacy Among Urban Kids

By giving away her book aimed at "tweens," the leader of a regional bank wants to help boost financial literacy among urban youth across the country. The bank's President and Chief Operating Officer Teri Williams wrote "I Got Bank! What My Granddad Taught Me About Money" to help spark conversations about money management among families in neighborhoods hardest hit by the recession. Until the end of December, schools and public libraries can request free copies of her book from OneUnited Bank's website.

In the book, a young boy named Jazz Ellington gets the gift of a savings account from his grandfather. Throughout the story, Jazz confronts peers and family members who question the role that saving money can play in their lives, especially during hard times. Targeted at readers between the ages of 8 and 12, the book covers topics such as credit cards, bank accounts, and even payday loans.

In a statement to reporters, Williams said that the book reflected her personal mission to help young people develop financial literacy skills. "I could not find a similar book about money from the perspective of an urban youth," Williams said. "Yet, when children learn the lessons of financial literacy at a young age, they form strong habits that can be life-changing."

On its website, OneUnited Bank calls itself the largest Black-owned bank in the country. With offices in Los Angeles, Boston, and Miami, OneUnited also offers online checking and savings accounts through its website. Williams and her OneUnited colleagues previously sponsored essay competitions tied to the book, awarding over $6,000 in savings account grants to school students during 2011 and 2012.

Librarians and school officials wishing to obtain free copies of "I Got Bank!" for classroom or library use can also mail their requests to OneUnited Bank, Book Request,100 Franklin Street, Boston, MA 02110, before December 31, 2012.