Did you know April marked Financial Literacy Month? We didn’t either, but our friend and Vice President of Regional Community Reinvestment Officer for M&T Bank, Randy Kunkle, was excited to educate us!
During our Q&A, he chatted on the importance of financial literacy and how M&T Bank is helping individuals, families, and businesses of all backgrounds reach their personal goals. Read our interview with Randy below, plus our breakdown of the exclusive Money Mentor app, which creates a tailor-made financial plan for you through a quick questionnaire!
Q: Please give us a background of your experience with M&T Bank (years worked, title, etc.)
A: Bringing with me more than 10 years of experience, I began working with M&T Bank three years ago as Vice President, Regional Community Reinvestment Officer for M&T Bank’s Delaware, Greater Philadelphia, Maryland Eastern Shore, and South Florida regions. In my role, I am responsible for developing and implementing Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) programs to meet credit and banking needs for the markets’ low-to-moderate income population.
Q: Why do you love working for M&T Bank in Wilmington?
A: Understanding the communities M&T Bank serves is critical in my role. Each market throughout the bank’s footprint is empowered to make decisions about its priorities–from providing grants to nonprofit organizations through the bank’s Charitable Foundation committees, to encouraging employees to use their designated 40 hours of paid volunteer time or sit on nonprofit boards of directors and committees.
Q: Why do you love the city of Wilmington to live and work?
A: I take pride in the fact that I am a born and raised Delawarean, and that in my job, I’m able to help improve communities up and down the state. Wilmington specifically has so much potential as it continues to bring new corporate businesses and attract workforces to the city. At the same time, there is an incredible need to lift up underserved communities throughout Wilmington through better access to education, employment, and affordable housing.
And, while I do appreciate exploring downtown and seeing developments along Market Street and the Riverfront, I love to see new homes being built by Habitat for Humanity on Bennett Street or The Warehouse Teen Center of Reach Riverside and new murals in West Wilmington.
Q: April is Financial Literacy month; what is financial literacy and why is it important?
A: Financial literacy, or more importantly financial education, provides individuals and families with the resources they need to properly manage their money, understand the use of credit, and invest in their future.
Financial literacy includes understanding the financial products available to you as well as how to budget, increase savings, borrow, make timely payments, and plan for future events such as purchasing a home, saving for college or retirement. It is critical to begin financial education at an early age and continue to reinforce financial principles throughout your life.
Q: What are some ways that M&T is promoting Financial Literacy to the community?
A: Our financial education platform–Money Mentor–is available both in digital and seminar formats. Our digital version, which is found on our Financial Education Center provides a customizable video playlist based on your needs wherever you are in life. Consumers can explore the platform at their own pace and learn about topics such as budgeting, credit management, building wealth and retirement, and more.
The bank currently offers seminars on budgeting, credit management, considering homeownership and retirement, which can be scheduled through any of our branches or in conjunction with community partners like nonprofit organizations, schools, parent-teacher associations, etc.
M&T Bank employees also participate in programs that teach financial education to youth. One example is Teach Children to Save Day, a national program led by the American Bankers Association and coordinated locally by the Delaware Bankers Association and the University of Delaware’s Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurships. M&T participated in this year’s event virtually from April 19 –23.
Q: Of these offerings, what do you think is the most important for our younger communities in Wilmington?
A: Whether it is Teach Children to Save Day or other programs offered through our nonprofit partners, educating our youth early on the basics of banking and the importance of budgeting and money management is critical to financial empowerment and wealth building. From a product perspective, M&T’s Starter Savings and MyWay Banking accounts were created with younger customers in mind.
Q: Over the past year, we’ve seen a lot of people decide to start their own businesses. What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur starting a business?
A: I would advise new entrepreneurs to ensure they are utilizing the resources available to them to maximize their chances for success. Speak with your banker and tap into programs like the Launcher Entrepreneurship Program offered through West End Neighborhood House, the Women’s Business Center at True Access Capital, or The Money School of Delaware.
Q: What are some other services and resources offered by M&T Bank that support financial literacy?
A: Beyond our Delaware branches and Money Mentor, there are online banking tools built specifically for families, teens, college students, and young adults that allow customers to manage their accounts anywhere, anytime. Through the M&T app, customers can deposit checks, send money, pay bills, transfer funds, and manage debit and credit cards.
More about Money Mentor:
After hearing a bit about Money Mentor I needed to do a complete deep dive investigating this easy to use app! This is what I learned:
The app gives different playlists you can choose to watch for specific goals and populations, such as:
- Banking for families
- Banking for students
- Banking for teens
- Banking for college students
- Banking for life changes
- Becoming a homeowner
- Preparing for retirement
- Banking for entrepreneurs
I zeroed in on the Personalized Playlist, which asked me to complete a questionnaire which gave me a quick survey about my current financial goals, how far ahead I plan for my financial stability, the ease in which I pay my bills, what I would do in specific financial situations, and my age range.
The Money Mentor app generated a playlist of videos and tutorials just for me on a variety of topics like creating a budget and developing good credit! The information was incredibly helpful and is useful for anyone who is thinking about their financial health right now.