Citigroup World, March 9, 2006
Citigroup and Primerica believe that it's never too early to begin teaching children about the importance of money management. In the U.S., children between the ages of 8 and 14 control some 39 billion "shopping dollars." Add to that, college loans and other major debts accumulated as they head toward adulthood and too many young people end up with dangerously high debt levels before they even have a "real" job.
But there is hope in this case, Operation HOPE and Primerica. In recognition of the volunteer efforts of Primerica employees, as well as to celebrate the advancements and progress in enhancing financial literacy in many local schools, Operation HOPE recently hosted an awards event at Kanoheda Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia.
In 2005, Operation HOPE and Primerica volunteers helped over 400 Gwinnett
successfully complete Operation HOPE's award-winning financial literacy program, "Banking on the Future." Operation HOPE Chairman and CEO John Bryant saluted the Primerica volunteer instructors for teaching the participating students the importance of learning about basic financial concepts.
Kanoheda Elementary Principal Terry Watlington said, "This program really opened the eyes of our student participants about the importance of learning how money works. I wish to thank the enthusiastic Primerica volunteers, and am extremely gratified to have the opportunity to work with them and John Bryant."
Founded in 1996, "Banking on our Future" is Operation HOPE's premier financial education program for youth in underserved communities, emphasizing the value of learning to manage money and plan their finances effectively. The innovative course takes a highly interactive approach to train students in four banking fundamentals, including: the Basics of Banking, Checking and Savings Accounts, the Power of Credit, and Basics Investments.
"Primerica has always taken an educational approach with our clients to show them how to improve their financial futures. That's why we're so gratified to team with Operation HOPE and help teach students in our community about the basic financial concepts that will help them better prepare to make sound financial decisions as they move forward with their education and careers," said Jeff Fendler, president and CEO, Primerica Life Insurance Company, and member of Operation HOPE's Board of Directors.
Added Sonya Hawkins, a Primerica volunteer instructor, "We all really enjoyed working with these great kids. You know the lesson has made a real impression when a 12-year-old tells you that the way compound interest works is 'cool.' Many times the students actually asked us to stay beyond the scheduled time to talk even more about personal finance concepts."
Citigroup and Operation HOPE share a commitment to financial education for young people. In 2005, Citigroup announced a $500,000 grant from the Citigroup Foundation to expand the "Banking on Our Future" program to reach 10,000 students in seven cities. In addition, Citigroup employees, such as those Primerica employees who have been working in Gwinnett County, volunteer as HOPE Corps banker-teachers to educate students about the basics of earning income, budgeting, saving, and investing.
Primerica and Citigroup's partnership with Operation HOPE is just another success story made possible by Citigroup's 10-year, $200 million commitment to financial education.