SA Youth kids complete financial literacy program through PlainsCapital Bank

Christian Zavala, age 12, knows that if you borrow money from a bank, you have to pay it back with interest. Penelope Rodriguez, 13, has learned important information about loans and late fees. “I also know that if you put money in a savings account, you earn interest so that you get more money,” said Penelope, a 7th grader at Mark Twain Middle School.

Christian and Penelope along with seven other SA Youth members recently participated in a personal financial literacy education program for seventh- and eighth-grade students through PlainsCapital Bank. This program teaches students about saving, budgeting and making sound financial decisions that will prepare them for college, careers and beyond. They received a certificate of completion for successfully finishing the five-week financial literacy curriculum.

As a reward for completing the program, they have the opportunity to participate in PlainsCapital Bank’s Pays for A’s program where they will earn $5 per “A” grade on their semester-end report card. In the spring, PlainsCapital Bank will host a field trip where students can open a youth savings account to make their first deposit using the money they earned from the Pays for A’s program. The PlainsCapital Pays for A’s program applies to the following core classes: English/language arts, history/social studies, math, science and foreign languages. 

The personal financial literacy curriculum was created through a joint partnership between PlainsCapital Bank and Texas Council on Economic Education (TCEE). The financial literacy program, funded by PlainsCapital Bank and written by TCEE, covers topics such as saving, budgeting, credit, taxes, loans, interest and financial responsibility.

Employees from PlainsCapital Bank and its sister company, PrimeLending, volunteered their time once a week to teach these fun and interactive financial literacy lessons to middle school students enrolled in SA Youth’s out-of-school time program that keeps at-risk, urban youth off the streets and engaged in learning. 

Beginning this year, the new Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards will require kindergarten through eighth-grade classes to incorporate personal financial literacy into their curriculum. Middle school teachers can fulfill Texas Education Agency’s personal financial literacy requirement in their own classroom by sending an email to to request the curriculum free-of-charge.

“PlainsCapital Bank is committed to improving financial literacy in our communities and this program is an excellent way for students to explore topics like saving, budgeting and the importance of making sound financial decisions for their future,” said PlainsCapital Bank President and CEO Jerry Schaffner. “This financial literacy program provides hands-on activities with real-world relevance that engage students and provide a fun and interactive learning experience.”

PlainsCapital Bank also provides SA Youth members with access to MoneyIsland, a web-based educational computer game that focuses on key financial areas that include saving and spending, earning and investing and using credit wisely. This tool makes learning about financial matters fun for middle school students as it tracks and encourages their progress.