“Building the Dream”: Mayor Neeley partners with Financial Plus to help Flint kids access bank accounts

Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley is launching a new partnership with Financial Plus Credit Union to expand a youth financial literacy program for Flint kids.

The “Building the Dream” program began with Mayor Neeley challenging Flint schoolchildren to fill up piggy banks, with the promise to help them open a bank account and will contribute $5 to their accounts.

Financial Plus Credit Union is building on that promise by offering a $10 deposit for every new Kids Club membership, with an additional $5 for students who bring in their full piggy bank.

Mayor Neeley said he hopes the program will help children develop early habits of saving money and build financial literacy, with a larger goal in mind of helping close the racial wealth gap in Flint.

“Having a shortage of financial institutions in our community leads to many unbanked households in Flint, and this is a systemic issue that contributes to the racial wealth gap,” Neeley said.

“Through this partnership, we are directly connecting Flint kids to a financial institution,”  Neeley added. “We want to make sure that every family in Flint has an opportunity to build generational wealth.

“When we start by giving our young people basic financial literacy tools, this knowledge can spread through a family and create a foundation for growth. If we can get kids involved with a banking institution, asking their parents to take them to deposit any change they are able to collect, that’s a powerful influence for families,” he said.

“At Financial Plus, we’re committed to helping our members reach their financial goals, a big part of which is providing financial literacy at every stage of life,” said Brad Bergmooser, President and CEO of Financial Plus.

“We’re incredibly proud to partner with Mayor Neeley on the Building the Dream program because we share in the belief that it is an opportunity to empower children here in Flint. By teaching the importance of saving, children get hands-on experience managing their money and learn essential skills that help develop good financial habits for their future.”

To open a Financial Plus Kids Club Account, families will need to provide the following forms of ID:

  • Child Social Security Number
  • Parent/Guardian Michigan ID/Driver’s License with Current Address
  • Parent/Guardian Social Security Number

Neeley has visited three schools in Flint so far, delivering lessons along with piggy banks and activity books about financial literacy. He has encouraged classrooms of children to work together to fill up every classmate’s piggy bank.

Piggy banks and financial literacy activity books are available for children to pick up at Flint City Hall, 1011 S. Saginaw St. in downtown Flint, open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Families will also be able to pick up piggy banks and activity books at the new City of Flint Service Center at 4805 Clio Rd. Flint, MI 48504. Beginning Jan.17, the location will be open Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., offering bill pay, public health, and police resources.

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)’s 2021 National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, unbanked rates are higher among lower-income households and Black and Hispanic households.

The FDIC also consistently finds that unbanked rates between Black and White households and between Hispanic and White households are present at every income level.

In 2021, among households with income between $30,000 and $50,000, 8% of Black households and 8.4% of Hispanic households were unbanked, compared with 1.7% of White households nationwide.

About Financial Plus Credit Union

Formed in 1952 as Chevy-Flint Federal Credit Union serving the employees of Chevrolet Motor Company in Flint, Financial Plus today is owned by more than  81,000 members.  With more than $1.3 billion in assets, the credit union provides banking products and services throughout the state of Michigan. For more information, visit myfpcu.com or call (800) 748-0451.

EVM staff can be reached at eastvillagemagazineflint@gmail.com.

Author: Tom Travis

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