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Mississippi Young Bankers earn national respect for financial education efforts

Celebrating a job well done… Mardi Gras style

The Mississippi Young Bankers (MYB) will celebrate a job well done Mardi Gras-style at the “Krewe of Bankers” Study Conference and Convention March 16-20 at the Marriott Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Ala.

About 550 members are expected to kick off the weeklong event at the March Madness reception by feasting on jambalaya and red beans and rice and relaxing with a New Orleans-style jazz band before discussing serious banking matters.

“My wife and I came up with the Mardi Gras theme just to have something a little different,” said MYB president David Guyton, with a chuckle. “We wanted to make it a family affair, to not only increase attendance, but to make it fun, so we came up with the March Madness Reception, David’s Krewe of Bankers Party and the Krewe of Kids Beach Party.

“But I want to stress that those events are a small part of the convention. We have sunrise devotionals each morning, followed by speakers covering topics ranging from motivational to technical banking issues.”

Last year, after receiving the second-highest award for the two preceding years, the MYB — the educational arm of the Mississippi Bankers Association — won the highest national award from the American Bankers Association Education Foundation (ABAEF). It garnered the PEP (Personal Economics Program) Award of Excellence in recognition of its financial education efforts. In 2003-04, Mississippi bankers made 3,788 presentations to 150,352 adults and students, reaching 23% of the total Mississippi student population.

Through PEP, a MYB county chairman is appointed annually for each of the state’s 82 counties, and is responsible for recruiting others to help educate schoolchildren about banking and finance. In 2004, the MYB also achieved something no other state did: 100% of its member banks participated in the PEP program.

“We really do have some great county chairmen in the trenches doing the work,” said MYB vice president Ted Williams of Trustmark in Brandon. “They won this award.”

Among the financial educational programs that support Mississippi communities: Banking On Your Future, targeted to junior and high school students. More than 20,000 copies of the product, which includes a student workbook and teacher’s guide on how to manage money, have been donated to Mississippi classrooms since the program’s inception in 1998.

“Distributing this product is just an example of the many ways we try to point kids in the right financial direction before they get out of school,” said Guyton, president of BancorpSouth’s Oxford branch.

Mississippi bankers will participate April 25-29 in the ABAEF-sponsored Teach Children to Save program. Last year, a dozen Mississippi banks made more than 70 presentations to 4,000 students.

Mississippi bankers also distribute an In Charge credit education guide for young adults and a MONEY video series that can be shown in the classroom and followed by a Q&A session. The association’s scholarship funds have also been padded through proceeds from the sale of the MYB “Tailgating Recipes to Bank On” cookbook. Since it was published last January, 1,800 copies have been sold for $10 each.

“The original cookbook, ‘Banker’s Dough’ did so well that they wanted to pursue another cookbook, but this time more specialized,” said MYB cookbook committee chairman Bill Granberry, CEO of Richton Bank & Trust Company. “The idea of a cookbook about tailgating, featuring collected recipes from bankers around Mississippi, hit the spot and was truly a labor of love. I was very fortunate that my wife had experience on the Junior League cookbook in Jackson and really knew how to put one together. As a result, we’ve raised a significant amount of money for college students.”

The Orrin Swayze Scholastic Awards will be presented at the MYB Study Conference & Convention for the 26th consecutive year. The scholarships are presented annually to Mississippi college students to continue the tradition of banking excellence begun by Orrin H. Swayze Jr., a widely respected Mississippi banker and an avid promoter of banking education.

Five scholarship finalists will attend the convention to interview with the MYB Scholarship Committee. A Swayze Scholar will be selected to receive a $2,500 cash award. The runners-up will receive awards of $1,000 each.

“I’m so proud of the work that the Mississippi Young Bankers have done to help educate the public about banking and finance,” said Guyton, “and the work that has been done to make sure this tradition lives on.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at lwjeter@yahoo.com.

About Lynne W. Jeter

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