Henry Leverett, Queensborough’s At Work Banking and Financial Literacy Program Manager, explains the impact financial literacy has had on his life and how a financial education can benefit the masses. He explains the importance of structured financial education and why he is excited to bring banking education to the masses.
- Tell us a little about your role at the bank and your background.
Henry has over twenty-five years of banking experience. Before becoming part of the Queensborough team nine years ago, he spent time working in a variety of areas of banking and finance. In addition to his success in these fields, he was eager to help promote financial literacy, fueled by his own background, and a strong desire to help people.
Henry Leverett: “I’ve been a branch manager, a financial advisor, an investment banker, and managed finance companies. Pretty much, you name it; I’ve done it. But what drew me to financial literacy was my own life experience. I’ve seen hardworking, honest people struggle because they didn’t have a proper financial education. I want to see this change – through sound financial advice and education, early in life, for everyone.
- What exactly drew you to financial literacy? And how has financial education impacted your life?
Before his successful banking career, Henry Leverett had humble beginnings. Growing up with his mom, Henry and his family lived in public housing. He witnessed his mother work hard to provide a quality lifestyle and face numerous problems when navigating her finances. The issue wasn’t that she couldn’t support her family; it was that, when it came to her banking knowledge, she wasn’t well-versed in the details of the financial tools at her disposal. Henry saw firsthand how the lack of a proper financial education can be a serious roadblock to advancing your family’s prosperity.
Henry Leverett: “My interest in banking started at an early age. I watched my mom struggle through the process of trying to change our financial situation and saw how difficult it was for her to get good information from her bank. A lot of the time, she got no information, and when she did, it was incorrect. That was the worst part of it, because having the wrong information is just as bad as not having any at all.”
As Henry grew older, his mom kept on striving to provide for her family. When she finally got good financial advice and learned how to properly manage her finances, he witnessed how quickly she was able to improve their lives. This was the first time he realized the importance of financial education in the lives of ordinary people.
Henry Leverett: “Once my mom received good information, our situation transformed. She was able to get us out of public housing and into a house she built from the ground up. Not only that, but she was also able to completely pay off the house in 5 years.”
- Who benefits from financial literacy the most?
A survey by the Columbia County Board of Education asked graduating seniors which subjects they wished were available in school. A majority of them answered: financial education. Although this is a small sample size, the result is telling. Many adults enter the workforce with little to no banking knowledge.
Henry Leverett: “Most people assume that financial education is only for teenagers and young adults. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Financial literacy is empowerment. Understanding your finances can have a positive impact on people of all ages.”
At Queensborough, we believe financial literacy can help everyone in our community. We designed our Financial Literacy Courses to be suitable for people across all ages and situations. Our classes are designed to teach the best practices of money management and how to properly use banking tools to your advantage.
Henry Leverett: “At Queensborough, we are making a huge push toward financial literacy. We have been offering our courses to companies, churches, nonprofit organizations, and anyone else who would like to improve their knowledge. We also offer 1:1 consultations for individuals who appreciate a personal approach.”
- Why is Financial Literacy important?
Thanks to the success of our Financial Literacy Program, we have seen first-hand how impactful having access to banking knowledge can be for our clients. We have helped individuals, families, and businesses achieve their goals, improve their financial standing, and leave a positive mark on their community.
Henry Leverett: “At first, being financially literate is going to help you as an individual. It empowers you to be independent, financially stable, and ready for whatever comes next in your life. But beyond that, there is a positive effect on the community as a whole, with more and more people receiving actionable insights and the proper knowledge. When you do well, your family does well, and you can even share your knowledge with the people around you. Hopefully, it has a domino effect and can transform not only your life but your entire community.”
- Is there anything else about your story that you would like people to know?
As a young man, Henry had musical ambitions. But his mother couldn’t afford to help him pursue his dream. So, like many young adults, he decided to use his credit cards to support his spending. As a pianist and vocalist, he spent large sums of money on instruments, equipment, and travel so that his music could be heard. It all came to a halt one day when he was looking to buy a computer for work.
Henry Leverett: “I went to the store to buy a computer for a new job and my credit card was declined. My spending had ruined my credit. I was making good money at the time, but it just goes to show you that even if you have money, poor financial decisions can really restrict your opportunities in life.“
Luckily, this was the wakeup call he needed. Henry decided to put his efforts into learning how to improve his credit and set out to make smart financial decisions. Although getting his finances in order wasn’t quick or easy, he eventually used the skills he learned to become financially independent.
Henry Leverett: “It’s funny; people sometimes have trouble opening up to me because they see this successful banker and think I won’t understand their problems. But even with my experience growing up, I hit some financial roadblocks in college. I had to do some learning myself before I could be where I am today.”
- Sort of unrelated to banking; are you still making music?
Henry Leverett: “Yeah! I am still playing piano in the jazz and R&B group: The Lady & The Gents. We just got word that we have been voted the best band in Augusta for the fifth year in a row! So, things are going really well.”
- Where can people look to find more information about Queensborough’s Financial Literacy Courses?
Visit our Financial Literacy Program page to learn more about how Queensborough can teach you the skills you need to make smart monetary decisions. If you’re interested in taking control of your finances, reach out to us for a consultation or ask us about Queensborough’s Financial Literacy courses.