American National Bank opened a new branch Friday at Lewis & Clark Elementary School to help students learn financial literacy.

The CB Ambassadors and other community leaders gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning at the school.

All of the students will be able to use the bank, and six fifth-graders were chosen to serve as tellers, said Andrea Patten, manager of American National’s branch at 333 W. Broadway.

“Research suggests creating a hands-on experience with financial literacy has a greater impact on positive money management, empowering our youth to take charge of their financial future,” she said in a press release. “We really appreciate our partnership with the school system.”

The Lewis & Clark Branch will be open on Friday mornings, Patten said.

“The students are going to be able to come to the branch every Friday and make a deposit,” she said. “We’ll save that, and then when they graduate fifth grade, we’ll write them a check” for their money and any interest it has earned.

Students need to have permission from their parents to open an account, a press release from American National Bank stated. They are encouraged to set savings goals, and incentives will be offered throughout the year.

To become tellers at the branch, students had to apply, take a math test and go through an interview process, Patten said. Those selected were then taught how to count money, how to fill out a deposit slip and how to provide good customer service.

“This is a great group,” she said of the Lewis & Clark tellers. “We did training with them, and they’re very sharp.”

Principal Teresa Hamilton thanked American National Bank for partnering with the school.

“This is something that’s important for our students,” she said. “They’re learning lifelong lessons that are going to help them be successful.”

Next week, the tellers will present a financial literacy lesson to students around the building, Hamilton said.

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Superintendent Vickie Murillo also thanked the bank.

“This means so much to the students,” she said. “Thank you for investing in our students.”

It’s important to teach children how to balance a checkbook, Mayor Matt Walsh said.

“Savings, investment – for students to learn it at this level is vastly important,” he said.

American National Bank also has a branch at Carter Lake Elementary. That branch opened on Jan. 10, 2017.

“This is a great partnership,” said Don Kohler, president of the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. “American National Bank does great things in the community, and obviously this is one of them.”

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