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Banks rally for financial education

By Marcie Geffner · Bankrate.com
Friday, June 21, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

The American Bankers Association has added a "Paying for College" component to its consumer financial education program.

To date, the program has focused mainly on credit basics, such as creditworthiness, the cost of credit cards, how to read a credit report and preventing identity theft. The new component will add information to educate young people about the financial concepts and skills they might need to finance their higher education, the ABA said.

The program is part of a national campaign in which volunteer bankers work with young people to raise their awareness about the importance of using credit wisely. Since its inception in 2001, the program has enabled 24,000 bankers to reach more than 962,000 young people, according to the ABA. This year’s campaign is expected to reach 102,000 students and their families.

The ABA is a Washington, D.C.-based trade group that represents U.S. banks of all sizes.

In a statement, ABA CEO Frank Keating noted that student loan debt is the second-largest source of debt for people in their late-20s to late-30s in the U.S. The largest debt source for this age group is home mortgages.

"We believe this campaign will relieve a lot of the stress teens and young adults face in trying to create a brighter future," Keating said.

Separately, The Financial Services Roundtable Scholarship Foundation announced that it has awarded a total of $75,000 in scholarships to 15 students.

The students were chosen based on their completion of a certified financial literacy course, status as a high school-graduating senior entering a college or university, and exhibition of academic success, respectable character and financial need, according to the organization.

The Roundtable is a financial services industry organization in Washington, D.C.

Rich Whiting, president of The Financial Services Roundtable Scholarship Foundation, said in statement that the organization supports efforts to improve students' financially literacy because it's a skill they'll use throughout their lives.

"We were impressed by the caliber of the applicants, all of whom were academically accomplished and financially literate, and we are pleased to help these 15 students further their education," Whiting said.

The scholarship foundation is supported by annual voluntary contributions from Financial Services Roundtable member companies, executives and other sources. Member companies include dozens of major banks and other financial services corporations.

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff.

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