Access to Financial Literacy
Young children standing together as part of the Junior ATB initiative
A key part of keeping Alberta moving forward, is helping Albertans develop the financial literacy skills they need to take control of their money. Our financial support, coupled with an enthusiastic network of team-member volunteers, provides financial literacy programming for thousands of Albertans—including some of our most vulnerable citizens experiencing poverty and homelessness.
Recent initiatives and partnerships
Junior ATB spreads financial literacy and job skills to young Albertans in 84 schools across the province. Each “branch” runs as a partnership between a local elementary school and a nearby ATB branch. Students run the whole thing (with some adult oversight) to learn about how banks work firsthand. They accept real money for deposits and teach students about concepts like customer service, professionalism and financial applications of math. The program aims to show students how to manage and save money, while helping Junior ATB team members develop invaluable life and leadership skills as they learn to navigate the ins and outs of running a bank. Students even run their own boards of directors (miniature suits and ties optional).
Empower U—a partnership between ATB, nine Edmonton-based social agencies and the United Way—offers knowledge and matched savings to vulnerable people in the Edmonton area, primarily geared to women. Participants attend workshops and have the opportunity to save money in an Empower U account designed specifically for this program. At the end of the program, savings the participants have accumulated are matched. Since its inception, over 2,500 Edmontonians have gone through Empower U.
Financial Pathways Collaborative
Financial Pathways is a unique partnership between three community agencies and seven financial institutions. It brings the “Each One, Teach One” series of workshops to over 1,000 people in the Edmonton community each year. These free workshops cover a variety of topics, from banking basics to RRSPs and RESPs. Attendees include everyone from newcomers to Canada and at-risk youth, to people seeking employment and those living with mental illness. There’s no selling involved—the focus is exclusively on empowering people with knowledge, so they can better understand and manage their finances.
Four Directions Financial
Four Directions Financial uses biometric technology to make banking more accessible to Albertans experiencing homelessness or living in poverty. Over the last three years, Four Directions has grown to approximately 1,400 customers, with 59% seeing savings at the end of each month. Four Directions, powered by ATB and run by Boyle Street Community Services, provides more than everyday financial services and guidance. They provide dignity, hope and encouragement to all who enter.
"I don’t feel anxiety coming to the bank because the staff is really helpful, really friendly. I guess the best thing is they’re non-judgmental. And we don’t need any more people judging us for being who we are."
Four Directions Financial customer