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New York Teen Named Grand Prize Winner of National Video Contest


Leonardo Cross, an 18-year-old student at High School of Art and Design in New York is the national winner of the American Bankers Association Foundation’s Lights, Camera, Save! video contest.

Lights, Camera, Save!, which launched in 2010, is a unique national competition that encourages teens ages 13 to 18 to use video to communicate the value of saving and motivate their peers. This year, 117 banks hosted 133 contests in 47 states as a part of Lights, Camera, Save!

Cross’ video—chosen through a three-day, bracket-style tournament hosted on ABA’s Instagram page — encourages viewers to think before spending. In the 30-second video, Cross demonstrates how quickly a hard-earned paycheck can disappear if you don’t stop to consider your savings goals before clicking purchase. Cross was named a national finalist after winning the local contest at Ridgewood Savings Bank in New York and will take home $5,000 for his first-place finish.

“This is our 11th annual Lights, Camera, Save! contest, but it was our first year allowing the public to decide our winner via social media voting,” said Corey Carlisle, executive director of the ABA Foundation. “Each day, thousands of people cast their vote and it’s clear Leonardo’s video and message resonated with them. We congratulate Leonardo on his victory and are grateful to all the contestants for helping us share such important savings lessons.”

“Ridgewood Savings Bank is thrilled that Leonardo’s video came in first in the highly competitive ABA Foundation ‘Lights, Camera, Save!’ contest,” said Leonard Stekol, chairman, president & CEO of Ridgewood Savings Bank. “We are very proud to participate each year in ABA’s creative program to teach financial literacy to the teens in our community. Leonardo took what he learned to heart and produced a truly award-winning video.”

The Lights, Camera, Save! second and co-third place winners were also announced today. Craig Carpenter, a 17-year-old student at Lancaster High School in Lancaster, Ohio, earned second place for his video Futuristic Savings. Third place was awarded to two students - Christian Thomas, a 17-year-old from West Potomac High School of Alexandria, Va. for his video Keep Your Bread Up, as well as Daniel Wang, a 16-year-old student at Health Careers High School in San Antonio, Texas for his video The Budgeteer’s Beat.

First Place Winner—$5,000

Leonardo Cross (High School of Art and Design, New York, N.Y.)
Ridgewood Savings Bank, New York, N.Y.

Second Place Winner—$2,000
Futuristic Savings

Craig Carpenter (Lancaster High School, Lancaster, Ohio)
The Park National Bank, Lancaster, Ohio

Co-Third Place Winner—$1,000
Keep Your Bread Up

Christian Thomas (West Potomac High School, Alexandria, Va.)
Burke & Herbert Bank, Alexandria, Va.

Co-Third Place Winner—$1,000
The Budgeteer’s Beat

Daniel Wang (Health Careers High School, San Antonio, Texas)
The First National Bank of Shiner, Shiner, Texas

This year’s contest is sponsored by VantageScore Solutions whose highly predictive credit scoring models provide lenders and consumers with more inclusive and consistent credit scores across all three major credit reporting companies.

“Watching these finalists' videos, we are excited for a future of dynamic leaders who truly demonstrated that being financial savvy can also be fun,” said Barrett Burns, CEO and president, VantageScore Solutions. “We are particularly proud to see innovation shine through this year – a trait that all industries need, but especially in banking where we are constantly pushing for progress and advanced solutions in an ever-changing world.”

Since 1997, the ABA Foundation’s financial education initiatives have reached 11.1 million young people with the help of more than 350,000 banker volunteers. The Foundation’s other financial education programs include Get Smart About Credit, Teach Children to Save and Safe Banking for Seniors. The programs are provided at no cost to ABA members and non-members.

Click here to view winning videos and national finalists.


About the American Bankers Association

The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $23.6 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ more than 2 million people, safeguard $19.4 trillion in deposits and extend $12 trillion in loans.

About the ABA Foundation

Through its leadership, partnerships, and national programs, ABA’s Community Engagement Foundation (dba ABA Foundation), a 501(c)3, helps bankers provide financial education to individuals at every age, elevate issues around affordable housing and community development, and achieve corporate social responsibility objectives to improve the well-being of their customers and their communities.

About VantageScore Solutions

VantageScore Solutions, initially developed by America’s three national credit reporting companies (CRCs) – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, is the independently managed company behind the VantageScore credit scoring model. VantageScore credit scores are used by lenders, landlords, utility companies, telecom companies, and many others to determine creditworthiness. While there are many credit scoring models, the “win-win” for VantageScore is its innovative, highly predictive, patent-protected, tri-bureau scoring methodology that scores 40 million more people than legacy models – without lowering risk standards – and provides lenders and consumers with more consistent credit scores across all three national CRCs. A recent study found that approximately 12.3 billion VantageScore credit scores were used from July 2018 to June 2019 by over 2,500 unique users, including 2,200 financial institutions and 9 of the top 10 largest banks.

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Blair Bernstein

(202) 663-5468

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