Santa Rosa’s Exchange Bank Calling On Teens To Say How To Save Money

March 1, 2021

By Susan Wood, March 1, 2021

Calling on all lemonade stand entrepreneurs with a penchant for being a YouTube star.

Exchange Bank is accepting applications for “Lights, Camera, Save,” a national banking contest that urges teenagers to create videos geared to inspiring their peers to save money.

The contest, which closes March 1, comes with the potential of a participant receiving a $5,000 national grand prize. The second-prize winner may receive $2,000, and $1,000 may go to the teenager who comes in third place.

The Santa Rosa-based bank will select one winning entry for national judging and award $500, $200 and $100 to first- through third-place local winners. More information may be found on the bank’s website.

Exchange Bank aims to inspire youth “to educate themselves and their peers about the value of building sound financial habits,” said Ann Lobdell Hudson, senior vice president of the Wine Country financial institution’s retail banking division.

“As a local community bank, we value every opportunity to connect with students to help them gain the skills they’ll need as they enter adulthood,” she said.

In its 11th year, the national contest is the brainchild of the American Bankers Association Foundation. It encourages teens ages 13 to 18 to creatively portray the importance of saving money in a video of 30 seconds or less.

Last year’s winner, Michaela Oh of Rocklin, used a board game concept to reflect how teenagers entering adulthood may be sucked into real-life scenarios that may emerge at any point as financial setbacks. Her message with the video that served as a quasi cross between “Life” and “Monopoly” board games was clear — save for college and refrain from spending money each day. A character in one scenario was perplexed over whether to buy food in a local coffee shop.

“I know the quarantining made it tempting since we had plenty of time to spend money. But I wanted the video to show the value of saving money by showing what teens spend money on (versus) the importance of saving for college,” the 17-year-old Whitney High School student told the Business Journal. “We do compulsive spending sometimes.”

Oh, who pegged winning the contest as a shining light on a challenging year, plans to open a savings account soon for her own quest to attend either a California State University or University of California institution.

“It’s amazing. I’m always shocked to see how creative some of the teens can be,” said Jeni Pastier, banking association’s director of youth financial education programs.

Pastier recalled that in her seventh year of involvement some interesting concepts have crossed her desk. One teen used a Knight Rider vehicle, which was based on the hit television series featuring a talking car, to emphasize sound money management. That teenager has ended up in the film industry, she noted.

The banking trade group judges the videos in the national contest on content, quality, production value and messaging. This year, the association — which is a national voice for the $21.9 trillion banking industry — has brought on VantageScore Solutions as a sponsor.

“Our biggest motivation is to bring personal finance into the classroom. (This contest) is a baseline to better prepare their skills. We want to make it a cool part of personal finance to save,” Pastier told the Business Journal.