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At a time when six out of ten high-school seniors are not able to pass the high-school graduation exam, and books are the subject of viral internet clips, launching a finance education campaign built around a book seems like an initiative inspired by the vagaries of Don Quixote.

And yet, the “Little Bankers’ Saturday” campaign initiated by Volksbank Romania shows that both early financial education and quality reading are still relevant and can contribute to the learning of the basic notions that can later help adults make the best decisions. The campaign was developed together with Volksbank and proposed to ignite a discussion on a topic that lacked immediate commercial interest – finance education for children – by means of involving the bank’s clients, who were given the opportunity to have their first talks with their children about the relationship between money, saving, and shopping. Capitalizing on research findings, the campaign was developed around a book specifically written by blogger Simona Tache for “Little Bankers’ Saturday”. The book tells in a funny and exciting way the story of two little girls from families with different financial situations, who learn the value of generosity and friendship together with their first lessons about money.

Screenshot 2015-09-06 12.19.12The “Little Bankers’ Saturday” educational project ran between 19 July and 20 September 2014 in ten major cities in the country: Bucharest, Brasov, Constanta, Timisoara, Iasi, Cluj-Napoca, Curtea de Arges, Craiova, Medias, and Sighisoara. The bank’s branches stayed open on Saturdays between 11:00 and 2:30 for the children, who were invited to bring a book they had read, in exchange of which Volksbank gave everyone “The Piggy Bank’s Tale”. The books collected from the children were donated to city and village libraries located in the areas where the project took place.

Once they became little bankers, the children were allowed to go on an interactive tour of their Volksbank branch, where they learned what money is, where it came from, what types of coins and notes are there in Romania and the euro zone, how to use an ATM or an automatic money counting machine. After traveling almost 3,150 kilometers with the campaign, we counted more than 1,000 children from all over the country who participated in the “Little Bankers’ Saturday” educational project, almost 150 of whom came from orphanages in the towns where the campaign took place.

Although our goal was not to raise the client’s profile in the media, but rather to strengthen the relationship with the bank’s clients, who  were invited to the “Little Bankers’ Saturday” along with their children, the project sparked the curiosity and sympathy of journalists, so it generated 75 pieces of news: 10 articles in print media, 45 in online media, 9 TV news reports, and 11 radio news reports.