Bank Iowa in Denison is offering something new to customers who open a “Young Savers Account.”
“Eleanor Saves the Day” is a book that tells the story of a young girl who learns early in her life to save her money for the future.
The book was written by Josh Fleming, who is also the vice president of marketing at Bank Iowa in West Des Moines.
“One of the bank’s strategies is to help young people with financial literacy and also to get a younger client base,” Fleming said.
Bank Iowa is looking for ways to bring in individuals who might otherwise use an online banking service, he said.
“We thought this would be an interesting way to drive people into the bank and at the same time provide them with a unique and innovate way of learning about financial education,” Fleming said.
The book is more engaging than a class about budgeting or showing kids how to write checks, he said.
Fleming worked with Des Moines illustrator Nathan Wright to craft the images for the book.
He explained to Wright his idea for putting together a children’s book about teaching young people good savings habits.
“But at the same time, we wanted it to be realistic,” Fleming said. “That’s why at one point in the book Eleanor realizes that life is expensive and there is a page where she is laid off from a job.”
Everyone suffers setbacks, either financially or professionally.
“I didn’t want to make it all unicorns and rainbows,” he said.
“Eleanor Saves the Day” is Fleming’s first book, though he does write on the side for fun.
“I have an English degree from the University of Missouri and I often write advertising copy, radio spots and headlines, but this is my first foray into being published – and it’s really fun to do as part of your job,” he said.
His family life gave him experience to draw on for the book.
“I have five children, so I’ve spent a lot of time reading children’s books,” Fleming said.
The “Ted and Friends” series of books, which includes stories such as “Toad Built a Road” and “Sam Sheep Can’t Sleep” inspired another element of Fleming’s book.
Each page of the Ted and Friends books has a duck hidden somewhere in the artwork.
“We thought it would be a fun way to do some branding and also make the book something you’d want to read more than once to try to find the hidden bird icon from our logo on each page,” he said. “Some are easier to find than others.”
Fleming said he has heard from kids who enjoyed reading the book. Several “mom bloggers” have also posted about it, he said.
The book is a nice way to engage young people, teach them about saving and to reach out to families struggling with that challenge, Fleming said.
He said he struggled early on with learning to save and he wished he could have read his book when he was a child.
“Saving money was not necessarily something that was instilled in me when I was a young person,” he said.
Bank Iowa has started to receive inquiries from nonprofits and other organizations that find financial literacy to be a challenge, he said.
“If we can share this message and get more young people saving, we’re all going to be in a better place,” Fleming said.
“Eleanor Saves the Day” is available at any Bank Iowa location to individuals who open a “Young Savers Account,” which is for those who are 18 and under.
Bank Iowa also offers a $25 match if $25 is put in at the account opening.