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BANK OF AMERICA COMMITS $100,000 TO 'CHOICES & DECISIONS' FINANCIAL EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR HIGH SCHOOLS

 SAN FRANCISCO, July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Bank of America and Visa U.S.A. are teaming up to help high school students learn how to make financial decisions through an educational program that teaches financial planning, budgeting and decision-making in the classroom. Bank of America has committed a $100,000 bank grant to purchase "Choices & Decisions: Taking Charge of Your Life," developed by Visa which will be donated during the 1993-1994 school year to schools in the 10 states where Bank of America has retail operations. These states include Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington. With the Bank of America donation of 1,000 kits, "Choices & Decisions" will be used in nearly 10,000 high schools in all 50 states in the fall for the new school year.
 "Choices & Decisions" was developed by Visa U.S.A. in cooperation with the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs and the National Consumers League. It is an interactive multi-media program that helps young people learn how to manage their finances. The learning module includes a 12-chapter lesson plan with a comprehensive teacher's guide, personal computer software for the Macintosh or IBM-compatible personal computer and a laserdisc. The program covers a variety of topics such as Making Decisions, Making Money, Banking Services, Consumer Awareness, the Art of Budgeting, the Influence of Advertising, Credit Cards, Saving and Investing and Living on Your Own. The learning module was created for Visa by LucasArts Entertainment Co.
 Students act as financial advisors to help on-screen characters achieve personal and financial goals. Alfonso Ribeiro of "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" and Tracy Gold of "Growing Pains" portray recent high school graduates confronting decisions about what car to buy, how to afford to move into an apartment, and how to save money to attend college. By learning real-life decision making in the safety of a classroom setting, students discover that their decisions have consequences and that life has surprises and setbacks (such as when Alfonso's character purchases a car and it needs some costly repairs), as well as opportunities.
 Throughout the course, students practice important math skills by keeping track of the money they spend on budget worksheets. The program exposes students to financial tools such as credit and debit cards, and explains how interest on credit purchases is calculated.
 "In today's financial environment, it is imperative that students learn to make the wisest financial decisions possible," said Robert D. Sznewajs, executive vice president and head of Bank of America's credit card division. "The 'Choices & Decisions' program provides students with an innovative way to learn the responsible use of credit and practical money skills."
 "The purpose of 'Choices & Decisions' is to teach young people the life skills necessary to manage their finances in today's society," said H. Robert Heller, president and chief executive officer of Visa U.S.A. "Visa and its member banks sponsored the development of the program to ensure that young people will know how to wisely manage the financial tools available to them," he said.
 Bank of America has more than seven million BankAmericard accounts. Last year, the bank allocated approximately $20,000 for 'Choices & Decisions' kits and donated them to schools primarily in Arizona and California in a pilot program.
 Visa is the largest consumer payment card system in the world with more than 10.5 million acceptance locations and 304 million cards issued worldwide, including 149 million in the United States.
 -0- 7/21/93
 /CONTACT: Betty Riess of Bank of America, 415-622-6397; or Stephanie Caracristi of Visa U.S.A., 415-570-3372/
 (BAC)


CO: Visa U.S.A.; Bank of America ST: California IN: FIN SU:

GT -- SF002 -- 3728 07/21/93 08:01 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 21, 1993
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