GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. – If students learned early on the importance of allocating every dollar wisely, would they avoid the pitfalls of debt later in life? A local credit union is sponsoring a program it believes answers that question.
Kentwood-based Community West Credit Union is footing the bill to provide access to Banzai — an online financial education platform that takes students through various scenarios to help them learn how to budget — for 51 schools in the area around its five West Michigan branches, including Kentwood, Grandville, Hudsonville, Middleville and Rockford.
Community West is one of hundreds of credit unions and banks across the U.S. that support more than 30,000 teachers who have opted to use Banzai either to supplement or replace their personal finance curriculum.
Currently, 94 teachers from Thornapple Kellogg, Caledonia, East Kentwood, Hudsonville, Grandville, Jenison, Rockford and Rockford Christian schools, as well as a National Heritage Academies charter, are using the tool in their classrooms.
Lisa Boyd, marketing manager at Community West, said the credit union views partnering with the community, especially the schools, as a “logical” choice.
“We definitely have a passion for ensuring financial literacy, and it only makes sense to start with children,” she said.
Community West made the decision to sponsor Banzai access in 2010 before Boyd was hired. While she said the credit union does not disclose the cost of the program, its budget allows for each of the 51 eligible middle and high schools to sign up before the sponsorship cap is maxed out.