Elkridge Elementary students learn how to run their own savings bank

November 30, 1993|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Staff Writer

As the chief executive officer of "Elkridge Continental Savings Bank," Lauren Vint presides over the board of directors' meeting and keeps track of the bank's weekly deposits.

But Lauren is not some seasoned Wall Street financier.

She's a 10-year-old fifth-grader at Elkridge Elementary School, where students learn about the world of finance in a 3-year-old partnership between the school and Elkridge National Bank.

"The kids are really into it and really enjoy it," said Stacey Fishman, a fifth-grade teacher who helps coordinate the program.

With the help of Elkridge National Bank tellers, fourth- and fifth-grade students operate the Elkridge Continental Savings Bank, a savings program designed for Elkridge Elementary students.

The students take on the role of bank tellers, accepting actual cash and check deposits from students in kindergarten through fifth grade at their bank, an empty classroom. That money is later deposited in Elkridge National Bank.

Students also take on the roles of CEO, treasurer and other bank officers.

And this year, they have formed a board of directors to discuss marketing, the flow of deposits and advertising strategies.

Since last year, students have deposited $2,000 in the savings program, said Cindy Ensey, branch manager of Elkridge National Bank in Elkridge.

"We're trying to make the bank their bank, not our bank," Ms. Ensey said. "We've more or less stepped out of the picture."

The program, begun in 1990, requires a high level of responsibility from the students, who accept the deposits from their classmates and tally, separate and account for the money.

One recent morning, student tellers accepted deposits and added the deposit slips on an adding machine.

They also listed all checks and cash on teller settlement sheets.

Some of the students already talk as if they are experienced financial wizards.

"I keep track of settlement sheets," said fourth-grader Betsy Puppa, showing off collection sheets listing amounts ranging from $281.60 to $875.53.

The students already seem to know the importance of saving.

"It's a good idea to save money," said Lauren, who has stashed away $25.

Although Lauren said she's not sure what she will spend her money on, Betsy said she's saving for college.

"When you're older you know what to spend it on," she said.

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