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Financial education is a valuable resource for Tampa Bay families navigating the coronavirus crisis

January 26, 2021
Tim Coop
Tim Coop

Tampa Bay area families are accustomed to weathering hurricanes and tropical storms, having learned over the years how to prepare and cope. But weathering the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a learning experience for all of us, consistently fraught with unexpected challenges.


And one of the most difficult challenges for many Florida families has been financial hardship, tied to the economic downturn and thousands of layoffs, particularly in the hotel, theme park and restaurant industries.


Recent research shows that more than half of American households with children have reported facing serious financial problems during the coronavirus crisis. The survey, released in October 2020 by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NPR and a professor at Harvard University School of Public Health, reports that many families are facing the toughest financial situations of their lives.


The survey showed that six in 10 households with children reported that an adult household member had lost their job, was furloughed, or had wages or hours cut. Also, the survey stated that more than one third of households with children reported serious problems keeping their kids' education going.


The challenges are even greater for those families contracting the virus: Nine in 10 households with children where someone has been diagnosed with COVID-19 reported serious financial problems, along with serious problems caring for their children.


Hancock Whitney is helping parents navigate the challenging financial terrain by offering free financial education for adults and students through its “Financial Cents” program, which represents our philosophy of a “lifelong learning” approach to financial education. From kindergarten through retirement, we provide expertise and resources to help people create, grow, and protect financial success at each stage of life.


For adults, Financial Cents offers a wide range of short tutorials on topics like credit scores, overdrafts, payday loans and credit cards, as well as teaching about financial planning topics like financing higher education, making investments, owning a home and doing estate planning. The free courses are at hancockwhitney.com/financial-cents.


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Hancock Whitney bankers focus on a lifelong learning approach to financial education and engage with adults and children to help build stronger financial futures.


The bank also partners with local nonprofits to offer the web-based financial education classes to adults most in need. Recently, Hancock Whitney associates partnered with Project Prosper, an organization that works with adult immigrants and refugees, to provide virtual financial education classes on topics like banking basics, credit cards, credit reports, asset protection, and identity theft. Hancock Whitney will continue the partnership through 2021.


For students, Financial Cents features engaging, online courses that use video, animations and interactive activities to bring complex financial concepts to life. The courses for elementary, middle and high school students use real-life scenarios to demonstrate the power of good financial planning while covering topics such as making payments, unexpected expenses, sales tax, credit cards, auto loans, down payments, and tax returns. Students can learn at their own pace from home, and parents might find some of the courses interesting, too. To learn more, visit hancockwhitney.learnbanzai.com/wellness


Hancock Whitney associates also bring their financial expertise to local classrooms. Annually, we participate in The Great American Teach-In which went virtual in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our bankers hosted four sessions at 25 high schools around Hillsborough County, focusing on banking basics like spending vs. saving, needs vs. wants and how a bank works. More than 260 students participated in the Hancock Whitney-led lessons.


In addition to talking to high school students, we recently partnered with Metropolitan Ministries to speak to elementary school students. Bankers, following COVID-19 safety guidelines, visited schools to talk with the children in-person about saving.


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Hancock Whitney bankers visit local classrooms to teach important money lessons.


At Hancock Whitney, we believe a bank is about more than money. We see it as our responsibility to provide free financial education to the community in times of both prosperity and crisis. We hope you take advantage of our offerings to enhance your financial health.


If you work with a nonprofit organization or K-12 school that might be interested in a Hancock Whitney-led lesson, please contact us for consideration.