MEDA Bilingual Bank Tellers Program Speaks to the Community


MEDA Job Coach Olivia Quiñonez knows that a bank teller position is the gateway to a successful career in the financial sector. Quiñonez’ extensive background in banking means she has the expertise — and connections — to get 18- to 34-year-olds into such jobs.

Explains Quiñonez of what drives her work: “I am passionate about guiding today’s youth to become tomorrow’s leaders. Aided by my one-on-one coaching and goal setting, my candidates achieve their career dreams.”

Those dreams become reality via the Bilingual Bank Tellers program, run by Quiñonez at MEDA.

The program
MEDA’s Bilingual Bank Tellers program clients have an edge by offering English and Spanish fluency. The Latino population continues to grow nationwide: 17.4 percent of the population, according to the latest U.S. census data. With 38.6 percent of Californians being Latino, speaking fluent Spanish is a definite plus. This is especially true in San Francisco’s Mission District, home to many newcomers from Mexico, Central America and South America.

As most major banks have branches along Mission Street, speaking Spanish is a powerful tool. Tellers can explain financial terms in Spanish — creating a seamless transition for teaching immigrants the rules of money in their adopted country.

Such a fiscal education is important this April, which is “Financial Literacy Month.” The goal is for Americans to take financial responsibility, via a pledge.

Coincidentally, Quiñonez’ latest cohort of Bilingual Bank Tellers starts April 25. With a robust, six-week curriculum (30 hours per week, Monday to Friday), clients leave ready to start their career in finance. This includes customer service skills.

Plus, Quiñonez includes resume refinement, mock interviews and bank personnel visits to MEDA, the latter to avail participants of opportunities in the industry. Even a personal financial assessment and education occurs. (Financial Capability is woven into all of MEDA’s programs.)

It should be noted that this course is free. There’s even a $500 stipend to all who successfully complete the program — a great start to personal financial success.

The impact of the Bilingual Bank Tellers program is evidenced by the story of 20-year-old Maria Garcia (photo). The accounting student at City College was not sure of her career path, but then she saw a flier for the free program – and everything changed.

After successfully completing the program, Quiñonez connected her client to Wells Fargo, where Maria now works selling financial products.

“I figured I’d be working as a cashier. A clerk. Now I am at a bank gaining invaluable experience. My career is on the right track,” explains an enthusiastic Maria.

The future
Such bank teller jobs are not going away.

According to a U.S. News story with annual predictions, “10 Banking Trends for 2016,” a 2015 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation report found that visiting a teller still remains the most common way for people to access their account.

That means the Bilingual Bank Tellers program will continue to thrive.

Concludes Quiñonez, “MEDA’s banking program is the ideal way to jumpstart a career.”

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