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April kicked off Financial Literacy Month so we recently talked with Becky Stapleton, senior executive vice president and chief banking officer at S&T Bank, to learn about the various initiatives they host in order to promote financial literacy in their local community.

First off, can you tell us a bit more about S&T Bank?

S&T Bank is a community bank in every sense of the term. Our mission is to serve our customers one at a time by building relationships based on confidence, trust and performance. We strive to serve as a trusted resource, a community asset, a family advisor, a financial anchor and a source of civic pride.

S&T Bank was founded in 1902 with a single location in Indiana, Pennsylvania and now provides a full range of financial services to families and businesses throughout the region, with locations across Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. Although we have grown during the past 100 years, our core values remain.

Last year, S&T Bank announced a rebranding initiative centered on the one element of our name that best symbolizes who we’ve been for over a century, and who we’ll continue to be: the ampersand.  Between hopes & dreams, planning & reality, it symbolizes our promise to connect the moments that matter the most in our customers’ lives and be a trusted financial partner through it all.

You seem pretty involved in the local community, what is one of your top yearly priorities?

Teach Children to Save Day, which occurred on April 29, 2016, continues to be one of S&T Bank’s top community priorities since 2010.

Can you tell us a bit more about how the Teach Children to Save Day idea came about and how it has grown over the years?

Teach Children to Save Day was created by the American Bankers Association to organize banker volunteers to help young people develop a savings habit early in life. Last year, S&T Bank’s dedicated banking professionals visited more than 100 schools and connected with more than 3,300 students.  We’re continuing our commitment in 2016, joining students at local schools throughout the year to share tips and suggestions on how to grow their fiscal knowledge.

Why does S&T Bank feel it’s important to teach members of the community about financial literacy?

It’s never too early to establish responsible money management skills, and we hope to inspire local students to form good habits at a young age. In doing so, we’re helping to set students up for success in the long run. Establishing good savings habits and helping students to navigate their first checking account are key stepping-stones to achieving financial stability as an adult. Additionally, the program gives students an opportunity to learn more about the banking profession as a potential career path they may want to explore.

Do you host any other activities throughout the year to promote the topic?

In addition to Teach Children to Save Day, S&T Bank also partners with the American Bankers Association to coordinate efforts with Get Smart About Credit each fall. The Bank also maintains products including the Moola Moola and Checking & Students accounts for youth in addition to other educational programs, all of which provide value and solutions for all of the Bank’s customers. Throughout the year, S&T Bank branches host Branch Days, inviting customers in to learn from our dedicated banking professionals about the Bank’s products and services.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

S&T Bank is truly a community bank, and giving back to the regions we serve is a key part of our culture. In addition to the thousands of volunteer hours donated by employees each year, S&T Bank contributes financially to a wide variety of community causes through the S&T Foundation. S&T Bank is an annual supporter of charitable organizations, including the American Cancer Society®, United Way and community food banks.

This year, 266 S&T Bank employees elected to donate their time to working at 22 food banks across S&T Bank’s footprint in Pennsylvania. Employees also celebrate Jeans Day twice a month, donating funds in exchange for the opportunity to dress down at the office. Past donation recipients include the Alzheimer’s Association, Wounded Warrior Project®, as well as Humane Societies in numerous counties.

S&T Bank also looks for ways to engage its customers in programs that give back to the community. For example, in May 2016, S&T Bank encouraged our customers to go paperless by opting in for Online Loan Statements. On behalf of those who participated, we donated thousands of seedlings to be planted by volunteers, including our employees, at the annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event at the Flight 93 National Memorial.

Right now through June 30, 2016, the Bank will donate $100 to a local food bank for every new checking account opened that completes five debit card transactions. The promotion is part of an ongoing effort to swipe out hunger in the region.

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James W. Gabberty

Gabberty is a professor of information systems at Pace University in New York City. An alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New York University Polytechnic Institute, he has served as an expert witness in telecommunication and information security at the federal and state levels and holds numerous certifications from SANS & ISACA.

Zachary Ehrlich

25-year-old writer, and as a native San Franciscan, I am unreasonably loyal to Bank of America, if only for their superhero-like origin story, involving the 1906 earthquake and Italian fruit vendors.

Marisa Mann

Marisa Mann brings over 15 years of experience in consulting and financial services industries to the Solstice team, working on large scale enterprise initiatives across many technologies, including specializing in the digital space – Internet and mobile. Mann is passionate about mobile and the endless possibilities for the enterprise, delivering business value through strong brand recognition and driving to excellence in the consumer experience. Prior to Solstice, Mann worked at JP Morgan Chase, Diamond Management and Technology Consultants, Washington Mutual, Inc, and Accenture.

Brad Strothkamp

http://www.forrester.com/rb/analyst/brad_strothkamp