Junior Achievement stresses need to empower students


As prospective college students receive word this month on whether they’ve been accepted to their preferred college and how much financial aid they’ll be receiving — the greater challenge begins.  That’s the exercise to crunch the numbers to try to come up with ways to afford the impending and imposing tuition bill.

That reality makes the findings of the Junior Achievement USA (JA) and the Allstate Foundation's 2013 Teens and Personal Finance Poll ring alarm bells for teens and their families, as they look ahead to the financial impact of college:

 • Only nine percent of teens report they are currently saving money for college.

• More than a quarter of teens (28 percent) haven’t talked with their parents about paying for college.

• More than half (52 percent) of teens think students are borrowing too much money to pay for college.

Working with students from kindergarten through grade 12, JA aims to help students understand the importance of saving and planning for future financial needs. 

The increasing cost of college, poor job market and sluggish economy appear to be affecting teens’ views on the timetable for attaining financial independence, and the prospects for their long-term financial security. According to the poll, during the past two years the percentage of teens who:

• Think they will be financially dependent on their parents until age 25 has more than doubled — from 12 percent in 2011 to 25 percent this year.

• Say that don’t know or are not sure at what age they will attain financial independence from their parents jumped from just one percent in 2011 to 11 percent in 2013.

• Don’t know or who are unsure if they will be financially better off than their parents has risen sevenfold, from four percent to 28 percent.

Teens’ uncertainty about their financial future is also a reflection of their lack of financial knowledge and understanding.  More than one-third (34 percent) are somewhat or extremely unsure about their ability to invest money. And of the 33 percent of teens who say they do not use a budget, 42 percent are "not interested," and more than a quarter (26 percent) think that "budgets are for adults."

“Today’s teens expect to be financially dependent on their parents longer, and the number who can’t even predict when they might gain financial independence has jumped ten-fold in just the past two years,” said Louis J. Golden, President of JA of Southwest New England.  “The economy certainly plays a role, but part of the uncertainly is because far too many teens lack a fundamental understanding of how to manage their money.”

More information is available at jaconn.net.


 EASTON — Few things eat at the insides of a business owner worse than when a client stops paying you. But there are ways to avoid bad debt even before it goes bad. Cliff Ennico, former host of the PBS reality series Moneyhunt, leads a frankly named workshop called “Dealing with Deadbeats: Getting the Money You Are Owed Fast & Legally.” The so-called “Ann Landers of the Business World” will teach attendees four tactics for dealing with overdue debt and what creditor companies can and can’t do. The session, sponsored by the greater Bridgeport chapter of the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), takes place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. March 12 at the Easton Public Library, 691 Morehouse Road. More information about the workshop is available by calling 203-378-8664 or visiting greaterbridgeport.score.org.

 BRANFORD — Connex Credit Union this month opens a new Branford branch, at 620 West Main Street. The new branch will also debut Personal Teller Machines (PTM), which the “Unbank” bills as a convenient, electronic way to handle personal finances while still providing the personal service of person-to-person transactions. For its scheduled February 13 opening Connex pledged to make an opening day charitable donation of $500 to benefit the Community Dining Room, a Branford-based non-profit that provides food, support and companionship to the shoreline area. Connex has pledged to make an additional donation of $10 for every new checking account or loan opened at the new branch through March, up to $500.

WALLINGFORD — Naugatuck Savings Bank has opened a new Wallingford branch at 665 North Colony Road (Route 5). It is the bank’s 19th branch and marks the debut of a new open-branch design concept featuring Personal Teller technology.

“Our new Wallingford branch is an introduction to a new way of banking, adding new conveniences for our customers while still providing personalized financial services for which Naugatuck Savings Bank is known,” said NSB President Charles J. Boulier III.

NSB officials say theirs is the first bank in Connecticut to deploy two uGenius Personal Tellers, powered by the uGenius Video Banking System. In addition to traditional bank hours, Personal Tellers are available for extended hours on Saturday, along with before and after typical bank hours on weekdays. Personal Tellers give customers the ability to interact with a live teller through two-way video. Bank customers may conduct typical transactions through Personal Tellers including making deposits and payments, transferring money, cashing checks and more.

The new Wallingford branch marks Naugatuck Savings Bank’s fifth branch opening in two years. The new branch will be staffed with consultative Personal Bankers who can serve customers’ needs with everything from a new checking account, to a mortgage to a business loan. The branch also features a computer café and an investment center.

 Receives $288K for work in low-income communities



NEW HAVEN — U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal joined bank President and CEO William H. Placke January 10 in announcing that Start Community Bank was one of only 59 FDIC-insured financial institutions in the country — and the only bank in the Northeast — to earn a Bank Enterprise Award (BEA) from the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. The fund distributed a total of $18 million to these institutions.

The Bank Enterprise Award Program awards FDIC-insured depository institutions for making investments in “distressed” communities. The Bank Enterprise Awards are “reinvested in low-income and distressed communities, supporting new jobs, stronger small businesses, and more financial education and banking services for neighborhoods across the country,” according to CDFI Fund Director Donna J. Gambrell.”

Start Community Bank was selected to receive an award of $287,834 through the FY 2012 round of the BEA program for its support of affordable housing development by providing affordable housing development loans and project investments, small-business loans and project investments, and commercial real estate loans and project investments in low-income New Haven neighborhoods. Start Community Bank also accepted deposits from, and provided financial services to, low- and moderate-income residents.”

“Since Start Community Bank opened, we have been dedicated to serving New Haven and nearby communities, and to helping create a more healthy and economically vibrant community,” said Placke. “Receiving this prestigious award from the Department of Treasury reinforces that the countless hours our staff has dedicated — including supporting projects in low-income neighborhoods and providing financial literacy training for people of all ages — is having a positive impact on our community. These funds strengthen our resolve to continue to be a beacon of light in New Haven.”

“This award recognizes Start Bank's historic role in empowering under-banked populations — with financial literacy as well as access to banking — and enriching the entire community,” said Blumenthal. “This Bank Enterprise Award is a testament to the importance of these continued efforts to invest in families, small businesses and neighborhoods of all incomes.”

“We are proud that Start Bank has been recognized as a leader in community development for its work in New Haven,” said bank board chair Rolan Young Smith, a partner with Berchem, Moses & Devlin, PC. “In the two short years since opening, Start is rapidly becoming the bank of choice for individuals and businesses who want safety, stability, local decision-making and great rates, while investing capital directly back into the community.”


Start Community Bank is a full service commercial bank that is a member of the FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender. It is a state-chartered bank with approximately $41 million in assets and two branches in New Haven.