2016 Conference Sessions

1:00 PM Sessions

Know the $igns
Presented by: Jennell Huff

Know the $igns is dedicated to the education and empowerment of individuals through public awareness and protection from the growing threat of elder financial abuse, fraud, and exploitation. Learn what common scams are, what techniques scammers will use to separate you from your money, and what you can do to protect yourself.


Advancing Financial Capability through Digital Learning
Presented by: Mick Karls

EverFi’s co-curricular courses are used by more than 12,000 schools at no cost, with more than one million students in their platforms. During this session, EverFi will engage participants in a discussion around its critical skills courses and the efficacy of the programs. Learn how Montana teachers are using the courses to bring critical skills to students and how EverFi is helping to change the dynamic around student learning in financial literacy.


Homeownership the NeighborWorks Way
Presented by: Laura Bolstad, Pat Hilgendorf, Rosalie Kiernan, and Karen Nebel

Our presentation will include the tools that we use to help our clients become mortgage ready so they can get a loan from a bank. We do this through our financial coaching and counseling program and our monthly homebuyer education classes. When a client is ready to purchase a home, and can get a mortgage through a lender to purchase a home, we have several programs to help them with the finances they will need to close the deal, from matched savings accounts to deferred and amortizing loans.
This class offers education on refinancing your home, reading a mortgage statement and your escrow account.


1:50 PM Sessions

Engaging Teens in Financial Literacy
Presented by: Summer Red

Teenagers can be a notoriously difficult group to engage in financial literacy. Learn how to think outside the box to create engaging, entertaining, and interactive curricula that can not only interest teens in financial literacy, but make them excited about learning. This session will include examples of financial literacy games that have been tested in multiple classrooms, as well as provide tips on how to enhance your existing curricula to be more appealing for teenagers, on any budget.


Financial Education and Independence for Young Families
Presented by: Carrie Krepps and David Peretto

While financial education is critically important to our youth, special attention must be paid to those youth who have experienced severe trauma and do not fall in the “mainstream” life circumstances of their peers. In this session you will hear about a partnership between First Interstate Bank of Helena and Florence Crittenton Home & Services. Find out how combining therapeutic, trusting adult relationships between teen mothers and community members, and solid financial education has enriched their experience at Florence Crittenton and changed their chances for independent living and financial success.


Using Financial Information to Reduce Student Loan Debt and Improve Academic Outcomes
Presented by: Dr. Christiana Stoddard

More students than ever are borrowing to finance post-secondary education, but students receive little information when making loan decisions. We study a unique program at Montana State University that provided targeted information to students with high debt levels. The intervention reduced borrowing in the subsequent semester by $1,360, or one-third, relative to those who did not receive the letters. Letter recipients also completed more course credits, had higher GPAs, and were more likely to switch to a STEM major. The effects were particularly pronounced for freshmen, suggesting that early interventions have greater scope to affect student outcomes.


2:40 PM Sessions

High School Finance Academy
Presented by: Vicki McDonald

High School Finance Academy connects high school students with the world of financial services, offering a curriculum that covers entrepreneurship, banking and credit, financial planning, international finance, securities, insurance, accounting, and economics, among other topics. The MAOF curriculum is vetted by partners in the financial services and business sectors, and emphasizes literacy and project-based learning to engage students. MAOF students begin with Principles of Finance to gain a broad understanding of the core concepts needed in this field. MAOF introduces students to a wide array of careers through courses including Applied Finance, Business Economics, Business in a Global Economy, Entrepreneurship, Ethics in Business, Financial Planning, Financial Services, Insurance, Managerial Accounting, and Principles of Accounting. Academy students will have completed at least four finance academy courses by graduation. MAOF graduates benefit from learning the critical concepts of business management, accounting, and ethics.


Military Financial and Legal Issues
Presented by: Steve Garrison

Attendees will walk away with a better understanding of the financial issues facing Montana Military population and what local/legal resources they can refer to or rely on for support. Information will be provided on how to become involved for those interested in supporting the Montana Military/Veteran population.


Native Financial Inclusion in Montana
Presented by: Loren White, Jr. and Kelly Cresswell

In this session, attendees will learn about the Native Financial Inclusion Project, a bold new effort funded by the Northwest Area Foundation and jointly managed by the Native CDFI Network (NCN) and the Native American Development Corporation (NADC) to pursue the development and growth of Children’s Saving Account programs and other financial inclusion opportunities for Native children in Montana. This effort will includes local partners in Native communities who are critical to the long-term success of the Native Financial Inclusion in Montana. Speakers will include Loren White Jr. of NCN/NADC, Kelly Cresswell of the Student Assistance Foundation and a local partner.