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America's Community Bankers Assists in Building of New Orleans Habitat Homes.

NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The ACB Housing Partners Foundation, the charitable arm of America's Community Bankers, today presented a check to the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity for $58,175 to assist in rebuilding the areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

The New Orleans Habitat affiliate lost all of its trucks and all of its equipment in the hurricane. This donation will help put the affiliate back on its feet so that it can help rebuild New Orleans.

ACB Housing Partners Foundation board member Cindy Nolan presented the check to the New Orleans Habitat affiliate. Cindy Nolan is the wife of Mike Nolan, a member of ACB's board of directors and chairman, president and CEO of Fifth District Savings Bank, New Orleans, La. "ACB and its members care a great deal about the future of Habitat New Orleans and our Habitat family, Prinette Lee and her three daughters," Nolan said. "We hope that this check will help New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity get back on its feet."

Jim Pate, the executive director of the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, said, "New Orleans Habitat for Humanity was honored to have worked with ACB on the Lee family house in 2001, and we are grateful that the friendships and relationships developed then have led to this generous donation from ACB. We are even more grateful for the personal support of our many friends on ACB's staff and among its member institutions."

In the aftermath of the hurricane, community bankers from across the country wanted to reach out and express their support to those in the hurricane-affected areas. ACB, in consultation with Habitat for Humanity International, decided that the best way to help the citizens of New Orleans was to support the New Orleans Habitat affiliate and to sponsor its efforts to build Habitat homes. ACB made an initial contribution to the fund and alerted its member banks. Donations were received from community banks and individuals from across the country.

Today's check presentation occurred as ACB Chairman F. Weller Meyer and ACB President and CEO Diane Casey-Landry toured the New Orleans area to get a firsthand look at the damage and to conduct an open forum with Louisiana community bankers. Meyer is also president and CEO, Acacia Federal Savings Bank, Falls Church, Va. They were hosted by Peter Gwaltney, president of the Louisiana Bankers Association.

"We are here to listen to bankers who have been impacted by the hurricane. We want to know what we can do to help on the national level. Ensuring the vitality of hurricane impacted financial institutions is the first step in rebuilding the Gulf area," Meyer said. "Adequate housing is a pressing need for New Orleans and the surrounding areas, and our partnership with New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity will have a long-term positive immediate impact," he declared.

America's Community Bankers and Habitat for Humanity have a history of partnership. For the past five years, ACB has built a Habitat home in the cities that host its annual convention. The ACB Housing Partners Foundation makes a monetary contribution to completely fund the home and community banker volunteers arrive before the convention begins to work on the ACB-sponsored Habitat home. In 2001, the first of these homes was built in East New Orleans as part of ACB's 2001 Annual Convention. ACB and its members feel a special connection to the city and are committed to assisting in its recovery.

ACB has also set up a fund designed to assist bank employees affected by the hurricane. The Bankers-Helping-Bankers program has directly given more than $90,000 to over 250 bank employees in hurricane-affected areas. These funds will be used for rebuilding homes and for clothing, food and other basic necessities.

America's Community Bankers is the member driven national trade association representing community banks that pursue progressive, entrepreneurial and service-oriented strategies to benefit their customers and communities. To learn more about ACB, visit http://www.americascommunitybankers.com/.

First Call Analyst: FCMN Contact:

CONTACT: Robert Schmermund, work: +1-202-857-3104, home: +1-301-858-0922, or Jim Eberle, work: +1-202-857-3145, home: +1-703-893-2593, both of America's Community Bankers, press@acbankers.org

Web site: http://www.americascommunitybankers.com/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 23, 2006
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