Call for Students to Boycott A.I.B. School Bank

Every area of business is getting in on the act: targetting students, that captive audience of impressionables. In this latest attempt, AIB asks students to build a bank in their school, and of course AIB will give the students all the help they need. (Campaign for Comercial-Free Education (CCFE) does not think the banks are in the best position to be giving financial advice at the moment.)

The Campaign for Commercial-Free Education, of which I am a member, has called on second-level students to boycott the AIB’s “Build a Bank Challenge” which it describes as the exploitative colonization of school space at a time when Irish banks have disgraced themselves and endangered the entire economy through their reckless business practices.

As part of the “Build a Bank Challenge” AIB staff interview teenage students for positions, including “Bank Manager” and “Sales & Marketing Executive” in the school branch. The unpaid workers assume the task of “sourcing new customers to open AIB accounts through the School Bank, encouraging regular savings, and new ways to bank such as Phone & Internet banking.” Under the scheme school bank teams are to prepare and submit a “Business Plan” by 23rd January 2009.

Against a background of a share price collapse, massive levels of suspected bad debt and confidence in banks at an all-time low, AIB wish to teach students key business skills such as “money management” and “keeping accurate financial records”.

Here’s what I have to say about it: “Using students as “Sales & Marketing Executives” to promote AIB products and services to their peers is exploitative advertising of the worst kind. Would AIB allow teachers to “Build a School” in one of their branches and co-opt their customers as unpaid tutors? AIB – mired in a financial crisis – are in no position to teach anyone about money management or the keeping of accurate financial records.”

CCFE has called on all students to refuse to participate in this cynical marketing scheme and to object to it being given space in their school.

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