Pay it Forward

Financial literacy tool offered to teachers

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Elisabeth Fitts

Mountain Credit Union is bringing financial literacy education to more than 3,140 students and residents in several North Carolina counties. Students at 20 schools and the surrounding community have free access to Banzai, an award-winning online program and content library that allows users to practice real-world finance from the safety of their home or classroom using any internet-enabled device. At a time when a solid foundation of practical financial knowledge is critical, these resources will make a huge impact on users.

The financial literacy program is designed to prepare students for real-life financial challenges. It is an online simulation/game where you have a goal to save for college, apply for a loan, buy a house, or buy a car, and the game throws life scenarios at you. It teaches you along the way and how to prepare for the real world. The wellness library also has coaches, articles, and calculators that cover a variety of financial topics. 

This program is available for free because of Mountain Credit Union. Teachers for the upcoming school year can sign up if their school is sponsored, and schools in Macon County that have access to the program are Franklin High, Highlands School, and Nantahala School.

Through the Banzai online courses, students try out managing a budget, saving for a goal, and dealing with unexpected financial pitfalls. Teachers are able to easily monitor and grade student progress remotely. Resources are available at that explain everything from the basics of filing your taxes to how health insurance works. 

“Thanks to Mountain Credit Union, area students will now have access to a wide array of courses and resources designed to help prepare them for an increasingly complex world,” said Morgan Vandagriff, co-founder of Banzai. “We wouldn’t be able to provide these tools without their support.”

Mountain Credit Union is working with Banzai to build financial literacy in the community by investing time, money, industry experience, and a variety of credit union resources. Now, the commitment to education is being taken a step further. Through their help, students have access to Banzai learning tools, virtual or in-classroom presentations from a Mountain Credit Union expert, and even class visits to a branch to see it all in person.

Banzai resources are used by more than 120,000 teachers across the United States. These educational tools align with North Carolina’s state curriculum requirements, making the program a way for students to gain vital skills and an ideal way for anyone in the community to increase their financial literacy. After finishing the Banzai courses, users will know how to track where their money is and what it’s for, recognize financial trade-offs, and plan for a financially sound future.

Mountain Credit Union is hoping to make local teachers aware of this tool they can use in their classrooms at no cost.

Teachers interested in using Banzai can visit or call (888) 8-BANZAI. For more information about Banzai visit; for more information about Mountain Credit Union visit

Pictured above: THE BANZAI program through Mountain Credit Union is designed to prepare students for real-life financial challenges.

Elisabeth Fitts is a spokesperson for Banzai.