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Money Smart Press Releases


MS-009-2003 (04-16-03)
Media Contact:
Rosemary George (202) 898-6530

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the US Department of the Treasury today announced the kick-off of the DeKalb County First Accounts program. The public ceremony was held at the DeKalb County Cooperative Extension Office in Decatur, Georgia.

"The FDIC is honored that the DeKalb County First Accounts program is using Money Smart as the curriculum to educate consumers," said FDIC Chairman Don Powell. "Without knowledge, people are at risk of falling prey to those who would drain their economic lifeblood, instead of developing healthy banking relationships and building secure futures for themselves and their families."

"We believe the First Accounts grant award will enable the DeKalb County effort to reach many unbanked low- and moderate-income residents," said Judith J. Chapa, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. "Reaching out to those in need of financial education is an important effort in helping consumers into the financial mainstream."

The Treasury Department's Office of Financial Education is funding 15 national projects, including the DeKalb program, under the First Accounts initiative, which provides financial resources to develop and implement programs to expand access to financial services for low- and moderate-income individuals who do not have an account with an insured depository institution. The Office seeks to improve the ability of all Americans to make informed choices about financial matters and effectively manage their personal finances.

Money Smart is a set of 10 instructor-led training modules covering basic financial topics. The program is free to users and is available in English, Spanish and Chinese in a CD-ROM format. The program was developed by the FDIC and is being implemented at model sites across the country.

The DeKalb model site is a collaborative effort which includes financial institutions, housing managers, non-profits, a workforce development center, a local high school, Individual Development Account (IDA) programs, a volunteer income tax assistance (VITA) effort, the cooperative extension service and government agencies.

"It is important for all DeKalb County residents to have a firm grasp of financial fundamentals," said DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones. "Informed consumers can make better choices and avoid being victims. We thank the U.S. Treasury and the FDIC and welcome their continued support of the First Accounts project."

The First Accounts award will enable the two-year-old DeKalb Money Smart initiative to expand its instructor base to include two full-time bilingual instructors.

Money Smart

/First Accounts graduates are provided a certificate that enables them to open low-cost accounts with one of five financial institution partners, secure volunteer income tax assistance and have the opportunity to build assets with IDAs.

In addition to the model sites, Money Smart is being used by more than 18,000 financial institutions, faith-based and community organizations, and government agencies nationwide to provide financial education to low- and moderate-income adults. In addition to the English, Spanish and Chinese versions now available, Money Smart is being translated into Korean and Vietnamese. Those versions are scheduled for release later this year.

Any organization interested in financial education can use Money Smart. For information and instructions on how to obtain copies of the curriculum, click on the FDIC Money Smart link at, or send an e-mail to


Congress created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933 to restore public confidence in the nation's banking system. The FDIC insures deposits at the nation's 9,354 banks and savings associations and it promotes the safety and soundness of these institutions by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to which they are exposed. The FDIC receives no federal tax dollars - insured financial institutions fund its operations.

FDIC press releases and other information are available on the Internet at or through the FDIC's Public Information Center (800-276-6003 or 202-416-6940).

Last Updated 4/16/2003

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