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School Bank Reopens

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Sixth graders at the Easton Middle School have reopened their student-run bank following the Massachusetts legislature's approval of a special bill exempting the project from the state's banking laws.

A year ago this month, the State Banking Commission forced the students to shut down their banking operation, which was initiated as a learning experience, because it lacked a charter, charged too much interest on loans, and used the word "bank" without state permission. The student bankers charged one cent daily in interest on 75-cent loans, the cost of a school lunch.

Meanwhile, the students in the "high-ability learners" program that set up the bank drafted a bill and then asked their state representative to introduce the measure. A revised version of the student-drafted bill was approved recently by the legislature, making it possible for the student bank to reopen.

The new law exempts school banks with assets of less than $500 from state regulations.--sgf

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