SunTrust Bank teaches financial literacy as part of national focus on financial education

By David Pendered

A dozen years after Congress created a commission to promote financial literacy, SunTrust Bank continues to provide volunteers to help students in metro Atlanta learn methods to manage their money.

Jenner Wood, SunTrust

Jenner Wood, chairman and CEO the Atlanta division of SunTrust Bank, works with students from Marietta Middle School at Junior Achievement’s Chick-fil-A Foundation Discovery Center. Credit: SunTrust Bank

SunTrust has teamed with Junior Achievement to provide financial education programs in Georgia, Florida, Maryland and Tennessee through the month of April, which is National Financial Capability Month.

“Promoting financial literacy is a year-long effort for our teammates, as we believe financial well-being is one of the cornerstones of a vibrant community and economy,” Jenner Wood, chairman and CEO the Atlanta division of SunTrust Bank, said in a statement. “During Financial Literacy Month and every month, our goal is to help the next generation make wise financial decisions that can positively impact their futures.”

Congress focused on financial literacy soon after the recession of the early 2000s.

The recession included a number of components that reverberated in metro Atlanta, as well as the nation as a whole: The collapse of the dot.com bubble; the 9/11 attacks; corporate scandals; and the end of spending to fix the Y2K computer bugs.

The Financial Literacy and Education Commission was established through the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2000. FACT is more widely known for fair credit standards. It also called for the creation of a national financial education website and a national strategy on financial education, according to a page on the Treasury Department’s website.

Spending quiz

Federal efforts to measure financial literacy among high school students reveal the average score is 69 percent, of a test group of 80,000 students conducted in 2012. Credit: mymoney.gov

The website that resulted, mymoney.gov, urges readers to take a few steps to empower themselves financially. The steps include:

  • Create a spending plan, or review the one you have;
  • Order your free credit report, which was provided through FACT;
  • Talk with your children about money;
  • Open a savings account for your children.

Atlanta-based SunTrust has embedded financial literacy in its purpose message:

  • “SunTrust is a purpose-driven organization, dedicated to lighting the way to financial well-being for our clients, teammates and communities. We embarked on this purpose journey a couple of years ago. Lighting the way to financial well-being means helping people and businesses gain the confidence and control they are seeking over their finances.”

In metro Atlanta, SunTrust began its volunteer efforts on National Financial Capability Month at Marietta Middle School.

Jenner and Allison Dukes, president of the bank’s Atlanta division, worked with individual students and with small groups.

This outreach continued a program SunTrust conducted in February and March at Spelman College. The seven-week program ended March 31 with a class on preparing for the future, and the importance of financial management, according to a statement.

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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