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Bank to expand financial literacy programs

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Evanston-based First Bank & Trust has named a long-time employee, Judette Kurasz, as its first financial literacy officer to solidify the bank’s commitment to promoting and teaching financial literacy.

“Participation, commitment, and contribution are the basis to the success of any community,” said Robert Yohanan, CEO of First Bank & Trust, “by collaborating with our local schools and nonprofits, we can help prepare our children and equip our neighbors to lead financially secure futures.”
 
As financial literacy officer, Kurasz, a vice president at the bank, will be dedicated to collaborating and coordinating with local organizations to facilitate bank-sponsored financial educational programs.

She has already facilitated FB&T’s partnerships with a diverse group of local organizations, including: Y.O.U., Well of Mercy, WE, Junior Achievement, Roycemore School and Connections for the Homeless.

“We feel very lucky to have this collaboration and to be able to offer this needed service to our staff and participants,” said Jen Feuer-Crystal, Housing Program Manager at Evanston-based nonprofit Connections for the Homeless. “Judette has been working with us for a few months to create a financial literacy class… after much planning, she facilitated two classes and many impromptu one-on-one sessions to teach basic budgeting, credit repair, and other financial topics. With her approachable style, people felt really comfortable talking about the touchy subject of personal finances.”

While current workshop topics include how to open a bank account, how to save for college and plan for the future, basic budgeting, and credit repair, Kurasz also develops customized and individual programs for each organization with which she partners.

The bank will also work with students from Northwestern University’s Segal Design Institute to bring financial literacy workshops to more individuals and organizations. Through the schools’ Design, Thinking and Communication course, teams of students develop creative solutions for difficulties faced by local businesses and organizations.

First Bank & Trust is planning financial literacy partnerships with the YWCA, CARA and Youth Job Center. Even the bank’s business clients and referrals are eligible for presentations. First Bank & Trust invites community organizations interested in partnering on a financial literacy program to contact the bank at info@firstbt.com.

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