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PENNSYLVANIA CONVENTION CENTER VISITORS SCORE AN AVERAGE GRADE 'C' AT MERIDIAN BANCORP'S MONEY$MART CHALLENGE

 PHILADELPHIA, July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Visitors to the Pennsylvania Convention Center's opening Welcome America! weekend scored only an average grade of "C" when they tested their financial knowledge at the Meridian Money$mart Challenge, and in fact, people under age 18 failed the quiz.
 The Money$mart Challenge was part of Meridian's Bank of the Future exhibit at the Pennsylvania Open House, June 26 and 27. During the two exhibit days, 412 people, including Ben Franklin (portrayed by Ralph Archbold), stepped up to the Challenge which consisted of 20 questions covering financial topics such as car insurance, life insurance, household budgeting, checking account options, savings and investments. (Ben "a-penny-saved-is-a-penny-earned" Franklin answered 19 of the 20 questions correctly.)
 The 20-question quiz is actually the pre-test for Meridian's Money$mart program which the bank created in partnership with the Pennsylvania Council on Economic Education. Money$mart is a comprehensive, financial literacy curriculum designed to help students and adults become better financial decision-makers and money managers.
 "We introduced Money$mart as a pilot program at over 30 senior high schools and adult education programs in southeastern Pennsylvania and the state of Delaware during the 1992/93 academic year," said Jeff Gordon, vice president of community relations, who conceived Meridian's Money$mart program.
 "Judging by the Money$mart Challenge scores, we have more work to do with the under-18 age group, and quite frankly, I'm not surprised," Gordon continued. "They are the very people Money$mart was created for, and whom we hope will become more effective financial decision-makers as a result of the program." Gordon expects that Money$mart will be offered in 75 high school and adult education programs during the next academic year.
 MERIDIAN MONEY$MART CHALLENGE RESULTS
 Number of Percentage of Average
 Respondents Respondents Correct
 TOTAL: 412 100 13.6
 Gender:
 Female 199 48 12.5
 Male 213 52 14.7
 Age:
 Under 18 113 27 8.6
 18 to Under 30 113 27 15.1
 30 to Under 45 125 30 16.1
 45 to Under 60 40 10 16.1
 60 or Over 21 5 13.4
 State of Residence:
 Pennsylvania 345 84 13.7
 New Jersey 37 9 14.5
 Delaware 7 2 12.0
 Other 23 6 11.7
 Occupation:
 White Collar 200 49 13.6
 Blue Collar 88 21 15.5
 Full-time Homemaker 2 1 12.5
 Student 60 15 11.7
 Retired 21 5 12.6
 Other 41 10 13.2
 Number of Percentage of Average
 Respondents Respondents Correct
 Political Affiliation:
 Democrat 216 52 12.7
 Republican 93 23 15.7
 United We Stand America 7 2 8.7
 Independent 40 10 15.1
 Other 20 5 14.8
 None 36 9 12.8
 Self-Rated Knowledge of Personal Finance
 (Compared to Others Same Age):
 Above Average 202 49 13.5
 Average 169 41 14.1
 Below Average 41 10 12.6
 More Highlights
 -- Thirty percent of respondents failed the test with only 11 out of 20 correct answers or less.
 -- Under-18 males considered themselves as "average" and "below average" in terms of their financial knowledge; however, they actually scored higher than under-18 females who generally rated themselves "above average" -- 10.9 correct answers to 7.5. "Perhaps the relative lack of confidence displayed among younger men explains why such a small percentage of the people under 18 taking the quiz were males," explained Bill Madway, president of Madway Business Research, Inc. and Meridian Money$mart Challenge analyst.
 -- Fifty two percent of the participants were Democrats, which should be good news for the Convention Center's grand opening hosts, Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell and Vice President Al Gore.
 Under-18 Crowd Needs More Money Smarts
 Madway confirmed the notion that young people aren't quite as money smart as they'd like to believe. "A statistically significant aspect of the Money$mart Challenge results was the generally low scores of people under 18 and the relatively high percentage of young people -- 70 percent of which were female -- who participated in the test.
 "If you extract young people from the sample and look only at the scores of people over age 18, you'll find that the average score for females becomes slightly higher than that for men. In addition, the gap closes between white collar and blue collar participants, with the white collar segment actually scoring slightly higher. The difference between Republicans and Democrats narrows, as well, but the Republicans maintain the financial literacy edge," Madway said.
 Meridian Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS: MRDN), was one of the eight Grand Sponsors of the Welcome America! celebration. A $12.1 billion asset banking and financial services holding company, Meridian operates nationally with its banking focus in 16 Pennsylvania counties, two New Jersey counties and the state of Delaware.
 Headquartered in Reading, Pa., Meridian is committed to raising the standard of financial literacy among young people and adults through programs like Money$mart.
 /delval/
 -0- 7/7/93
 /Editors: Copies of the actual questions and answers for the Meridian Money$mart Challenge are available. Please call George Biechler, 215-655-2470, or Bob Shade, 215-655-2463/
 /CONTACT: George Biechler, 215-655-2470, or Bob Shade, 215-655-2463, both of Meridian/
 (MRDN)


CO: Pennsylvania Convention Center; Meridian Bank; Meridian
 Bancorp, Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: FIN SU:


JM -- PH017 -- 9110 07/07/93 13:33 EDT
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