On November 20th, 2014, a new branch of ATB Financial opened in Black Diamond. This new branch operates out of C. Ian McLaren School and is called McLaren Junior ATB Branch. The branch is open to all McLaren elementary students and deposits made during the weekly operating hours are then transferred to savings accounts, in their own names, at the downtown branch.
This concept of a Junior ATB started about four years ago and there are currently upwards of thirty branches located in various elementary schools throughout the province.
This amazing program encompasses everything from conception to implementation for the students and teaches them a wealth of life-skills. The branch is set up with a Board of Directors and employees – all from within the Grade 4 to 6 student body. They have to apply for the positions, including writing their resume and going through the interview process. With over forty applicants not all students were hired, which was another life lesson.
The nine members of the Board of Directors hold all normal positions that any board does and are expected to make the same type of decisions. They are held accountable while learning what a Board of Directors is and does. The eight Tellers do everything that their counterparts in the main branch do, as do the Back Cash employees and the Greeters.
Two employees, Erin Whaling and Delayne Ram, of the Main branch oversee and assist with the Junior Branch every week.
This program allows for a grassroots perspective for these employees and has been met with growing enthusiasm. There is no question that this program is preparation for real life from a multitude of aspects.
Erin and Delayne offer these comments on the success of this Junior branch.
“These kids are all very enthusiastic and very confident. I really think that this is a great step towards building a positive attitude towards finance and responsibility. This group of kids has an awesome opportunity for growth and learning and I think that they are aware of that. I wish I’d had a program like this when I was a kid!” Erin Whaling
“The Junior ATB Associates are extremely enthusiastic that this program is being offered within their school. There is an overall sense of pride as they become more comfortable in their roles and responsibilities towards Junior ATB, their fellow employees and student customers. It is wonderful to see them take on a sense of ownership for the program,” Delayne Ram
“We are very pleased to be partnering with C Ian McLaren School through Junior ATB, and the program has been well received with strong student participation,” Marlene Ryks, Manager, ATB Financial Black Diamond.
During the official opening, Black Diamond Mayor, Sharlene Brown congratulated the successful applicants and commented that this program has so much to offer from learning how to make decisions to leadership skills.
Don Lowe, ATB Financial Southern Alberta Marketing Manager, said, “We are very excited to be partnered with C. Ian McLaren School.”
This video offers a good explanation of the interaction of the students and how the program works.