News Release

New Jersey Department of
Banking and Insurance
Commissioner Holly C. Bakke

For Immediate Release: October 21, 2004

For Further Information:: Mary Cozzolino - (609) 292-5064

Financial Education Targeted for Communities
NJFLAN Learning Center to Open in High School

UNION (Union County) - In the effort to enhance financial literacy education in New Jersey, Banking and Insurance Commissioner Holly C. Bakke joined Union Center National Bank President John Davis in announcing the newest New Jersey Financial Literacy Awareness Network (NJFLAN) learning center. The learning center will be placed at the bank's satellite branch at Union High School.

NJFLAN, a Department of Banking and Insurance initiative, is an association of public and private organizations whose goal is to improve financial literacy throughout the state. The network allows the state to measure improvements in financial literacy by revolutionizing the way financial education materials are circulated to the public.

"The Department has taken a leadership role in solving the financial literacy crisis in New Jersey," Commissioner Bakke said. "It has become our mission to put much-needed financial literacy materials in the hands of those who need it most. It is clear that NJFLAN is making a difference as more organizations join the network."

New Jersey is home to many organizations that offer educational materials, credit counseling and financial solutions. But many consumers do not know how to balance a checkbook and have little insight into the basic principles involved with earning, spending, saving and investing. NJFLAN coordinates the distribution of financial education and resource materials in order to increase consumer access to New Jersey's financial marketplace.

"There are New Jersey consumers who struggle for financial stability," Banking Director H. Robert Tillman said. "This is especially hard for young people who never learned how to achieve a financially sound plan. NJFLAN puts valuable, easy-to-read resource materials in the hands of this population throughout the state."

Union Center National Bank will also designate Union Township's Municipal Building, Library and Senior Center as other NJFLAN learning center sites.

"We are proud to sponsor this initiative as part of our commitment to the people in Union Township," Union Center National Bank President John Davis said. "Creating learning centers within the community will raise awareness and improve basic skills necessary for consumers to manage their finances."

The flexibility of the network allows organizations to continue using existing financial literacy curricula of choice, but will expose more organizations to the vast financial education materials available for consumers.

NJFLAN is part of the major and comprehensive financial literacy campaign the Department launched this summer. Since then, the Department has developed training programs that will help community leaders and groups teach their members the skills necessary to improve their financial standing and responsibility. The Department also unveiled the Consumer Credit Bill of Rights, which made New Jersey the first state to provide consumers with additional protections with respect to the use of their credit information.

Other NJFLAN sponsors include Independence Community Bank, NovaDebt, PNC Bank, Capital Lending Corporation, Garden State Mortgage and Raritan Bay Federal Credit Union. The New Jersey Credit Union League, New Jersey Bankers Association, New Jersey League of Community Bankers, New Jersey Coalition of Auto Retailers, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now and New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education also support the network.

More information on the network may be found at NJFLAN's web site, or by calling 973-645-0586.