Sheffield, Alabama – Monday, September 21, 2020 – Students, staff and faculty were invited to attend the grand opening of the Bank Independent Tiger Branch on the campus of Deshler High School in Tuscumbia, Alabama on Friday, September 18th. This newly created, student-operated bank office is part of a groundbreaking financial literacy partnership between the Tuscumbia Schools System and Bank Independent.
The Bank Independent Tiger Branch will be supervised by faculty members, working closely with the traditional Tuscumbia sales office and staffed completely by students. The on-campus branch will be a functioning bank office to specifically serve the needs of Deshler students, faculty and staff. Services will be provided on a limited scale in comparison to traditional Bank Independent sales offices, offering checking and savings account openings, deposits and limited withdrawals as well as check cashing services in small amounts.
“Tuscumbia City Schools system is very excited about this partnership between the system and Bank Independent,” says Steve Finch, Tuscumbia City Schools Board President. “The Tiger Branch Bank will serve many purposes including providing a service to our students while enabling students to gain experience working in the banking industry. We view this as a cooperative which helps Tuscumbia schools to accomplish our mission to ‘Prepare every student for the opportunities of tomorrow’.”
The Tuscumbia City Schools Board, including Superintendent Darryl Aikerson and Mr. Finch, was instrumental in bringing the Tiger Branch to Deshler as a learning opportunity. The financial literacy partnership provides workforce preparedness skills within a formal education setting fulfilling the mission of the school board as well as the Bank’s vision for the community. As a closely-held community bank since 1947, the bank provides a strong, economic foundation for the community striving to be both the bank of choice and the employer of choice across their North Alabama footprint.
“Many young people have never had a bank account or even reason to visit a bank,” says Macke Mauldin, President of Bank Independent. “So many of life’s important financial lessons are learned in early adulthood and often at a very quick pace. The Tiger Branch offers a great introduction at a younger age to the financial services a bank provides and in an environment that encourages peer-to-peer interaction. I’m very proud of the role Bank Independent will play in this formative education.”
The Tuscumbia Schools System was responsible for selecting the student-workers for the Tiger Branch. However, each prospective new-hire participated in a selection process similar to those hired in a traditional branch, to include an application and interview process. The bank provided online and in-person training in preparation of the grand opening and launching services at the new branch. Student team members will be afforded additional learning and development opportunities as part of their career progression. Students will receive class credit, in lieu of monetary compensation, and be graded based upon training and performance.
“Providing early financial education opportunities as well as real-world work experience helps these young students build an economic foundation,” says Buddy Whitlock, Bank Independent Senior Vice President. “I am not just a local banker, but also a neighbor and member of the Tuscumbia City Schools system Board of Education, I am truly invested in this next generation and want each of them to thrive in the community.”
The ribbon cutting ceremony kicked off an afternoon of celebration for the student lead team and the faculty supervisors. Superintendent Aikerson represented the Tuscumbia School System, along with school board member and Bank Independent Senior Vice President Buddy Whitlock. Bank Independent was represented by Macke Mauldin, President, Rick Warlaw, C.E.O., and Chris King, Director of Marketing.
Ongoing access to the Bank Independent Tiger Branch will be limited to bank team members, student workers, faculty advisors and school administrators. The student teller role allows them to perform small deposits and withdrawals, as well as cashing or depositing small checks, for students, faculty, and staff. Unlike traditional tellers, student tellers will not have access to bank systems or customer information. In the event they need broader support, student tellers can rely on the Bank’s Digital Sales Office or Customer Service team.
“Financial literacy partnerships like the one between the Tuscumbia Schools System and Bank Independent build critical skills for the next generation,” says Rick Wardlaw, C.E.O. of Bank Independent. “These young students will be vital to the community through the financial decisions they make and the career decisions they choose. Bank Independent is honored to be a positive step along that path.”
About Bank Independent
Since 1947, Bank Independent has taken pride in serving the customers who count on us to be there for them when they need us most. With 28 traditional Sales Offices across North Alabama and one Digital Sales Office, we’re committed to providing the best service, designing the most desired products and creating an overall excellent experience for each and every customer. As a local community bank, we believe in building relationships that run deep and last. All of our employees reside in our local communities and believe in giving back through volunteering. To become part of a bank that makes a positive difference in people’s lives, visit us at bibank.com.
For more information, press only:
Bank Independent, Marketing Department for Bank Independent, (256) 386-5000, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit: Jason Bowie