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FDIC Rolls Out Vietnamese Version of Money Smart Financial Education Program

MS-04-2004 (2-11-2004)
Media Contact:
Rosemary George (202) 898-6530

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today announced the national rollout of the Vietnamese version of its Money Smart financial education curriculum. At an official press conference in Falls Church, VA, FDIC officials unveiled this new addition to the Money Smart lineup. Money Smart is now available in five languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

Press conferences are also being held today in Houston, TX, and Orange County, CA. Texas, California, and the Washington, DC metropolitan area have the highest concentration of Vietnamese in the United States. “

Census figures tell us that the number of Vietnamese in this country more than doubled between 1990 and 2000,” said FDIC Chairman Don Powell. “Many of them came to America seeking freedom from political conditions in their homeland. We are proud to make Money Smart available to them in Vietnamese so they will have the opportunity to attain financial freedom and achieve the American dream.” “

We have used the English version of Money Smart for over a year, but verbal translation of the materials was necessary because most of our clients have limited English proficiency,” said Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thang, Executive Director of Boat People SOS, a nationwide community-based organization assisting Vietnamese refugees and immigrants. “The Vietnamese translation of this highly effective curriculum will greatly facilitate access to financial services for many of our clients, because they came from a cash-based society and lack understanding of the American banking system.”

Boat People SOS is one of eight groups around the country that reviewed the Vietnamese translation to ensure that it would be both user-friendly and culturally sensitive. The other reviewing groups were the Unified Vietnamese Community Council in Los Angeles, CA; the Department of Housing and Employment Development in Houston, TX; Vietnamese Social Services of Minnesota in St. Paul, MN; Center Bank in Garden Grove, CA; Southeast Asia Community Center in San Francisco, CA; and VATV, a non-profit media outlet serving the Vietnamese-American community in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

The Money Smart program is a set of 10 instructor-led training modules that covers topics such as understanding credit, preparing a personal budget, and assessing the costs and benefits of consumer and home loans. Each module includes a comprehensive guide for instructors and a take-home booklet containing highlights and resource material for class participants. Anyone interested in financial education can use Money Smart. The materials are free, easily reproduced, and have no copyright restrictions.

The FDIC’s Money Smart program recently received the prestigious 2003 Service to America Medal. Nationwide, over 100,000 people have already received instruction in basic financial education through Money Smart since it was introduced two and a half years ago. The curriculum is an integral part of efforts to address the issues of predatory lending and low-income communities’ lack of access to mainstream banking services.

“From refugees to full American citizens, the Vietnamese community continues to contribute to the American political and economic landscape,” said Michael J. Zamorski, Director of the FDIC’s Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection. “Many Vietnamese work in small businesses, and the basic credit knowledge taught in Money Smart will be helpful to their future economic success.”

“Now that Money Smart is available in Vietnamese, we encourage financial institutions, community development corporations and non-profit organizations to form partnerships to deliver this useful program to the Vietnamese community,” Zamorski said. “Personal financial management skills are essential to asset building.”

The FDIC recently conducted a Train-the-Trainer Workshop for 16 volunteer instructors at Boat People SOS Maryland. These instructors will begin offering Money Smart classes in Vietnamese to their clients. For more information, or to order Money Smart, visit the Money Smart section of the FDIC’s Web site at

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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 9,237 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.

FDIC press releases and other information are available on the Internet at or through the FDIC’s Public Information Center (877-275-3342 or 202-416-6940).

Last Updated 2/11/2004

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