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ICBA Executive Teaches Classroom Banking Lesson to Promote Financial Literacy

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 11, 2003) - Reflecting the Independent Community Bankers of America's ongoing commitment to promoting greater financial literacy, Camden R. Fine, the trade association's president/CEO-elect, today taught a class at Francis Junior High School on basic banking and money management skills.

"There are millions of families who remain outside the banking system — and outside the economic mainstream," said Fine, a former community banker. "ICBA recognizes that we will never achieve our full potential as a nation as long as that remains true. We are committed to helping community banks serve these households, many of which represent the future generation of financial services consumers."

Fine taught students about checking and savings accounts and how to use them. The students learned how to open a savings and checking account, and how to make deposits and withdrawals. They also practiced balancing a checking account and writing checks. "We can never start too early in giving our youth the skills and confidence they need to succeed. Often the most basic financial information can dramatically improve people's lives," Fine said.

Fine joined other banking industry leaders, including FDIC Chairman Donald Powell, in a celebration of financial literacy events across the country sponsored by Operation HOPE, a national nonprofit organization that promotes economic self-sufficiency and investment opportunities in America's inner-city communities. ICBA participates in Banking on Our Future, an Operation HOPE program that has taught more than 125,000 youth basics financial literacy skills. "Operation HOPE is a great grass-roots organization that ICBA is proud to be associated with," said Fine. "We have the same goals, and ICBA looks forward to participating in future events with Operation HOPE."

Across the nation, community banks sponsor diverse financial literacy programs in their communities — from classroom courses for youth to workshops for newly arrived immigrants to seminars for people planning for retirement. Some of the most successful community bank financial literacy programs involve partnerships with nonprofit groups such as Operation HOPE.

Increasingly, community banks are looking to expand their customer bases to the so-called "unbanked," households without even one mainstream banking relationship. Some of these households include people who were never taught fundamental money management skills. Others contain newly arrived immigrants who may be wary of America's financial system. Greater basic financial knowledge will help these families enjoy greater financial security and autonomy. "ICBA is excited to do its part to support financial literacy wherever we can," Fine said. "Creating better informed banking consumers makes good sense for every community bank. Plus it's a lot of fun, too."