NCAI Partners with Native Financial Education Coalition to Launch NAT$VE in the BANK Initiative for Native Youth

Published on Sep 14, 2015

Washington, DC – Building on its First Kids 1st initiative and its work advancing Generation Indigenous (Gen-I), the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has joined forces with the Native Financial Education Coalition (NFEC) to launch NAT$VE in the BANK because they understand that Native youth building relationships with financial institutions by opening a bank account is a proven difference-maker in them making smart financial decisions over the course of their lives.

Designed for Native youth ages 12 to 25, NAT$VE in the BANK requires participants to finish four easy steps: complete a short, fun online course on financial education; open an account with a bank or credit union; take a “selfie” picture with a bank/credit union representative; and share through words or art their financial goals in life. Once they do, participating Native youth receive a NAT$VE in the BANK T-shirt and a chance to win an iPad Air. If participants recruit at least three friends to also complete NAT$VE in the BANK’s four easy steps, they are entered for a chance to win an iTunes gift card, an iPad mini, or a trip to NCAI’s 2015 Annual Convention in San Diego.

“This important new initiative, which seeks to strengthen the financial capability and self-sufficiency of our youth, builds on NCAI’s work on First Kids 1st and Gen-I,” said Jacqueline Pata, NCAI Executive Director. “We encourage Native youth everywhere to participate, and we invite tribal governments, Native organizations, and financial institutions to play key roles in supporting Native youth to answer the NAT$VE in the BANK call.”

Tribes and organizations can support NAT$VE in the BANK by recruiting Native youth to participate, integrating the initiative into their youth programs, and reaching out to local banks and credit unions to get them to participate. Banks and credit unions, meanwhile, can do their part by: accepting tribal IDs and a minimum initial deposit of $25 to open accounts, waiving monthly account fees, hosting a NAT$VE in the BANK fair at a bank branch or school in/around a tribal community so youth can open accounts, and contributing matching funds to initial deposits made to those accounts.  

One of the first Native youth to answer the NAT$VE in the BANK call was Harmani Wilson, a citizen of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and high school senior who lives in Henderson, Nevada. She explains, “I said, ‘Why not give it a try?’ It was pretty easy to understand and do. I am happy I did it because I learned a lot from it. It was amazing how much money I was saving by putting it in the bank because I was not spending like I would if I had cash in my pocket. It helped me budget better and I was able to save up for items I really wanted, and I learned that I can take my time and don’t need to buy things immediately.”

In order to be eligible to win the trip to NCAI’s upcoming Annual Convention in San Diego, Native youth must answer the NAT$VE in the BANK call and get at least three friends to participate by Friday, September 25th. NAT$VE in the BANK will then unveil a new grand prize for youth who answer the call by March 31, 2016. To learn more about NAT$VE in the BANK, please visit the NFEC website or email Tyler Owens at

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