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Money Smart News - Summer 2004

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Money Smart: Get Involved!
Any organization interested in financial education can use Money Smart. For information and instructions on how to obtain copies of the curriculum go to or call

The Money Smart curriculum is comprised of ten comprehensive instructor-led modules covering basic financial topics including an introduction to bank services, tips on obtaining credit and information on buying a home. It can be easily reproduced for wide dissemination and has no copyright restrictions. Money Smart is free to users.

Money Smart is available on CD-ROM in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

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We want to hear how Money Smart is making a difference in peoples' lives. Submit your stories today!

Here are some recent stories submitted by our readers:

From Tallahassee, FL: Lessons in Financial Confidence
When Claudette Harrell—together with fellow members of the Connected Community Alliance, a concerned citizens’ group in Tallahassee, Fla.—identified a need for basic money management classes in her community, she never expected that she would one day be a student herself.

“We were trying to find a way to help members of the community who were disenfranchised or required assistance,” Harrell said. “But when we got together with Wachovia and started looking at the Money Smart curriculum, I realized that I had something to learn myself.”

So Harrell enrolled in the classes to learn how to be more responsible with credit.

Harrell and her fellow classmates are learning about basic banking, budgeting, home ownership and credit with the program’s ten lessons. In 2003, Wachovia became the first major bank to partner with the FDIC to deliver its Money Smart curriculum, which is also available in Spanish. Wachovia partnered with 28 community groups and delivered training to over 2,100 participants last year, and expects to see even greater participation in 2004.

In Tallahassee, course instructors put special emphasis on explaining the path to home ownership. Many course participants assume that their credit prevents them from becoming homeowners, when in fact with a few corrections they can have very good credit ratings. “Participants are particularly interested in understanding their credit reports and how to improve their credit rating for future borrowing needs,” said instructor and Wachovia Financial Specialist Chiquita McMillian. “They’re very enthusiastic and motivated to learn about the process of borrowing money.”

Tallahassee Market President John Medina notes that home ownership is not the answer for every participant. Each participant’s profile—including factors like employment stability—is carefully considered.

“And if we do help participants into home ownership, we stick with them to make sure they’re successful in budgeting and staying on top of their mortgage payments,” Medina said. “We want them to be successful in the long haul.”

To ensure long-term success, participants attend follow-up sessions with Money Smart instructors—all Wachovia employees—after they complete the courses.

The Tallahassee program’s success can be attributed in part to a creative use of partnerships. Wachovia works with the Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO) and Tallahassee Community College to provide class members with facilities, transportation and childcare. Most class participants are referred by Bethany Family Apartments, ECHO’s provider of temporary emergency housing.

Medina believes that this approach could be a recipe for success in other markets. “We’ve found that combining community partnerships with active involvement from Wachovia employees is the key,” Medina said. “With the strength of our community ties in all of our markets, this same approach could work well in other locations.”

Submitted by Aimee Worsley, Wachovia Corporate Communications

Last Updated 3/03/2005

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