Originally posted on www.the-journal.com

First Southwest Bank announced in a news release that it will sponsor a web-based financial literacy program to 31 schools in the San Luis Valley, Pagosa, Bayfield, Durango and Cortez areas.

The program is called Banzai, an financial literacy program.

In an email to The Journal, Emily Inman, public relations manager of Banzai, said the company hopes to reach students across the nation.

“We want each of them to learn the value and importance of developing positive financial habits, Inman said. “We’re so glad that First Southwest Bank is willing to sponsor 31 of your local schools. They’re giving these students the opportunity to prepare for their financial future.”

According to a news release, dated Nov. 28, it is the largest program of its kind, servicing more than 33,000 teachers and available in all 50 states.

“Providing quality financial education to our community is an indispensable goal here at First Southwest Bank,” Kent Curtis, First Southwest Bank CEO said in a news release. “We are thrilled to be launching a program for high schoolers that advances our youths’ knowledge as they grow and encounter new financial junctures and opportunities.”

The platform is online.

“Banzai is a web-based financial literacy program. Students have their own bank accounts, and they work through assignments that are based on real life,” Morgan Vandagriff, co-founder of Banzai, said in a news release. “But because First Southwest Bank is sponsoring it, local schools get it for free. More than ever, it’s important that students develop sound financial skills to prepare them for the real world. First Southwest Bank realizes that, and they’re doing something about it.”

The platform is designed to introduce students to real-life mathematical situations such as managing debt and balancing budgets.

“Too often students get out of school and they just aren’t ready for the financial roller coasters life can give us,” Vandagriff, said in a news release. “Banzai teaches students to navigate those twists and turns and come out on top. We’re excited to work with First Southwest Bank to improve financial literacy in local schools.”

According to the news release, students will not only be faced with day-to-day challenges, but unexpected expenses such as overdraft fees and parking tickets.

Teachers interested in using the Banzai program can visit fswb.teachbanzai.com or call 888-8-BANZAI.