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In Denver, Students Mind Their Dollars

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Denver businessmen set on turning the city's young people into budding entrepreneurs say they were both surprised and delighted to learn that many of the children are already shrewd money managers.

In recent months, market researchers from a Denver firm that plans this summer to open the nation's first bank catering solely to children visited local schools to determine whether the project was viable. They were astonished, they say, at the savvy with which many of the students discussed money and banking.

A 3rd grader at the Bromwell Elementary School, for example, proudly disclosed to the visitors his stock ownership in the Japanese conglomerate that manufactures Subaru cars and trucks, according to Ned Modica, the school's principal, who sat in on one of the meetings.

Other students "are following and trading stocks'' and "know exactly how much they have in their savings accounts--and some have very substantial amounts of money,'' added Robert Russo, vice president of corporate communications for Daniels and Associates, the firm that plans to open the bank.

After initially rejecting the company's plans for the children's bank, the Colorado Banking Commission gave its approval for the venture in February. The firm hopes to open the bank's doors to customers by August.

After polling Denver students, company officials decided to name its new subsidiary the Young Americans Bank, rather than the Kids Bank, as originally intended. According to Mr. Russo, the new name is more representative of the 10- to 22-year-old clientele the bank hopes to serve.

Mr. Russo said the bank's primary purpose will be educational. Its founders, he said, hope to help young people become more responsible and well-informed adults by teaching them about banking, investment, and the economy.

In addition to offering savings and checking accounts and loans, the bank plans to hold seminars for children on such topics as interest rates, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Eventually, the bank hopes to sponsor lectures in schools throughout the state to teach students about banking.

Many of the students surveyed by the company expressed enthusiasm about the bank, according to Mr. Russo. He added that many have summer jobs and "are very responsible financially.''

"They view adult banks as condescending and are excited about the possibility of being treated as adults in a bank environment'' of their own, he said.--A.P.

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