Thirteenth Annual ‘I Got Bank’ Contest for Youth Held by OneUnited Bank

National Financial Literacy Month, which occurs each April, is a prime time to draw attention to financial health and savings goals for people of all ages. OneUnited  Bank is sponsoring its popular, thirteenth  annual “I Got Bank!” national financial literacy contest for youth who are between the ages of eight and 12 years old. 

Ten children won OneUnited Bank’s 2022 contest. Golden Littlejohn, 9, was among the victorious celebrants.

“When I heard that I won $1,000, I felt proud, happy, jittery and overwhelmed with emotion. In order to build for your future, you have to  plan and save now,” Golden said.

Golden Littlejohn
Courtesy photo of OneUnited Bank

Teri Williams is OneUnited Bank’s president and chief operating officer. The bank is regarded as the premier bank for urban communities, the nation’s largest Black-owned bank, the first Black internet bank and a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).  Williams is also the author of “I Got Bank! What My Granddad Taught Me About Money.”

“For many of us, money was either a taboo subject or was not talked about around the kitchen table. The contest makes money a family topic,” Williams said. “Our goal is to make financial literacy a core value in the Black community. What a better way to start than with our youth!”

Participants who would like to enter the contest can be located across the country. They must read a financial literacy book of their choosing, and either write a 250-word essay or create an art project to show how they would apply what they learned from the book to their daily lives. Ten children will win a $1,000 savings account. OneUnited Bank is offering a free “I  Got Bank” e-book, in addition to an opportunity to pursue the contest.

Eleven-year-old Ryllie Stephens entered last year’s contest. She was happy with the outcome of submitting an entry.

“Winning this essay contest was a very important achievement for me. When my parents told me that I won, I wanted to scream in excitement, but [I] was speechless at the same time. I knew that in the end my hard work paid off. Thank you, OneUnited Bank for the opportunity and recognition,”Ryllie said.

Ryllie Stephens
Courtesy photo of OneUnited Bank

Williams was inspired to write “I Got Bank! What My Granddad Taught Me About Money” after searching for a financial literacy book for her children. She stated that she “realized how few existed that were written for our community or [that] addressed the issues unique to Black families.” 

After penning “I Got Bank!” and observing the incredible response to the story, Williams remarked that she realized that OneUnited Bank had the power to amplify this message by reaching children in their formative years. It was another tool that was created to make financial literacy a core value in the Black community.

In a previous interview with The Baltimore Times, Williams mentioned that OneUnited Bank provides financial literacy through various tools. The bank educates the Black community about money. This  contest illustrates Williams’ inclusion of reaching young people who are forming beliefs about finances.

Williams added that if youth follow the simple steps outlined in “I Got Bank! What My Granddad Taught Me About Money” or any good financial literacy book consistently in their everyday lives, they will be able to “achieve financial freedom.” 

Fusing money matters with the contest is positively impacting families. Williams stated that young people who enter the annual contest help the entire family to make better financial decisions. Achieving results through the contest and book serves a bigger purpose beyond the chance to not only win money.

 “I want them to know learning about money can be fun— and lucrative! I want them thinking about money when they are very young, so, as they age, good financial decisions become automatic and commonplace.”

Aida Anderson, 11, found a creative way to approach entering the national financial literacy contest for youth. 

Aida Anderson
Courtesy photo of OneUnited Bank

“This competition allowed me to use art for interpreting what I learned from the book “I Got Bank.” Be inspired and believe in yourself. I did it and you can too!” she said.

Contest submissions must be emailed or postmarked by June 30, 2023. OneUnited Bank will choose ten winners and award each winner a $1,000 savings account at the bank by August 31, 2023. Parental permission is required. For more information, please visit: www.oneunited.com/book.

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