Melissa Siv, Peoples Bank vice president and district branch manager. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Melissa Siv, Peoples Bank vice president and district branch manager. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Melissa Siv: Promoting financial literacy among teens

This banking professional teaches financial skills to students at Everett-area schools.

This is one of 12 finalists for The Herald Business Journal’s annual Emerging Leaders awards for 2022. The winner will be named at an event on April 27.

Melissa Siv, 35

Peoples Bank vice president and district branch manager

Melissa Siv was recently asked to teach financial literacy to seniors at an Everett-area high school.

Siv is the vice president and district branch manager at Peoples Bank Everett Financial Center in downtown Everett.

The prospect of teaching a group of “worldly wise” teenagers had her “totally freaked out” and worried they might know more than her.

As it turned out, there was no cause for concern. “It was a great experience,” Siv said. “They asked engaging questions. We talked about everything from debt management to how to sign up for a credit card to what being a co-signer means.”

The successful meeting prompted her to pitch an idea that would mean more financial literacy programs available to Everett Public Schools students.

The initiative, however, would require additional volunteers.

In the space of two weeks, Siv rallied her colleagues.

“There used to be just two volunteers from the bank from Snohomish County. Now, we are a group of seven,” Siv said.

“While in banking, I’ve come across many young adults and teens who don’t know the basics of managing personal finances,” Siv said. “I think there is a lot of value in having professional business and community members take the time to volunteer at schools to teach them about managing one’s finances.”

Siv grew up in Brier and graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2009. In 2007, while still a student, she was hired by Peoples Bank part time.

It was a pivotal moment.

“If you told me then that I would continue to work up the ladder in retail banking for the next 15 years, I would probably laugh,” Siv said. “I came to Peoples Bank because I was looking for something more professional than my job at Old Navy folding denim.”

Siv is a founding member of the Kiwanis Club of Mill Creek and its treasurer.

An Emerging Leaders nominator said: “She is more than just a financial professional, she is also a great communicator and leader and has taken the leadership role in numerous club projects and led them all to a successful conclusion.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Kiwanis International offered grants to clubs with projects to help the community. But the funding ran out and the Mill Creek club was unable to secure funding for a project to support 88 elementary students for whom distance learning was proving difficult.

That didn’t deter Siv.

“Five of us decided to move forward with our original plans,” Siv said. Together, they raised nearly $2,000, exceeding their fundraising goal, which allowed them to help additional students.

Siv volunteers for the Imagine Children’s Museum. She serves on the Everett Public Schools Business and Professional Services Program Advisory Committee and the Mill Creek Business Association and Bothell Kenmore Chamber of Commerce.

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.

The annual Emerging Leaders award by The Herald Business Journal seeks to highlight and celebrate people who are doing good work in Snohomish County. This year’s partners in the award are HeraldMedia, Leadership Snohomish County, Leadership Launch and Economic Alliance Snohomish County. Co-sponsors are Gaffney Construction, Inflection Wealth Management and the Port of Everett.

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