Bank for Youth Offers Auto Loan Education

little girl holding cash money
Young auto loan borrowers and depositors can get more than just financing at one Denver bank, they can get an education too.

Young Americans Bank, a bank for young adults and children ages 21 and under, was founded by Bill Daniels. Inspired by a news story about high school students in need of a business loan, he felt that a bank should teach students about loans. Subsequently, he set up Young Americans Bank as the only bank for young people under the age of 21.

Vice President of Communications for Young Americans Bank, Katie Payer, told that given the young clientele and founding history of the bank, particular attention is spent on educating new customers.

“When account customers open an account, they go through an extensive process through the vocabulary, and different methods of transactions, and for such things as using cards,” said Payer.

According to Payer, normal banks take roughly 25 minutes to educate their customers on their services. At Young Americans Bank, it takes nearly 45 minutes to ensure the customer understands the bank’s services and gets their questions answered. Even young children undergo banking education.

“Children are constantly absorbing things around them, so giving them a real and hands on experience, we are actually empowering them to make their own decision,” said Payer. “They are interested in money and a lot of times there is a mystery around it since their parents go to an ATM and withdraw money. If they can understand money in and money out, then they can absorb the concept much earlier in life.”

Like a normal bank, Young Americans Bank offers financing. However, the type of purchases this financing allows is quite unique to the bank’s young customers.

“We offer all types of loans: car loans, a loan for a hamster and hamster cage, a loan for skis or an iPad, and Justin Bieber tickets,” said Payer. “Although the loans are pretty generic, we offer them for all kinds of products and services students would want.”

Since a large portion of the bank’s clientele is of high school age, the allure of a car purchase and auto loan is always on their minds.

“We’ve done quite a few auto loans,” said Payer. “We’ve got many teens who are customers of ours. Sometimes they want a new or used car. It’s the biggest purchase of their life.”

Relying so heavily on the young and inexperienced for a customer base does poses a few challenges, yet the financial mistakes of children and teenagers are rarely massive.

“I think that there are fewer stumbling blocks for children and teenagers,” said Payer. “It’s the best time to learn when mistakes are smaller.”

Harkening back to its founding roots, special attention is made to entrepreneurial programs. One such program is called Get Ahead for Business. In this program, students learn about starting businesses. Eventually students compete against one another in high school oriented businesses, such as the sale of school supplies.

The deadline for the bank's educational branch's Annual Youth Business Competition is on Sat. June 8 where anyone 6 to 21 can apply.

(Interview with Ms. Payer conducted by Isaac Juarez)