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TEXAS BANK TEACHES STUDENTS A LESSON ON SAVING

Whether it's buying a candy bar or paying for a college education, most children have plans for their money. But without access to banks and savings institutions, many find it hard to put their money away.

Kids at Waco's Crestview Elementary School, however, can learn money management skills, thanks to Bank One. Once a week, employees of the bank's Waco branch come to the elementary school so students can deposit money.The children have a passbook to keep track of their savings. They also receive a quarterly bank statement. There is no minimum balance on the accounts, and the children can keep them open as long as they like.

The deposits can range anywhere from a few cents to a fistful of dollars.

"Some bring in 25 cents, but one brought $8 one day," says Donna Halford, a Bank One employee. "Some of them are saving for something special, but most of them are saving long-term."

Among the bank's customers is kindergartner Jonathan Ferguson, who says he's not sure what he'll do with the money he's saved. "I'm gonna buy me something with it - some candy or something," he says.

Jose Colon, a fifth-grader, says he's saving money to "get my little sister a present for her birthday."

And Courtney Taylor, another fifth-grader, says she's learned that "saving money is very important. Then you can buy gifts for people around Christmastime." Her goal is to save $50.

Technically, parents are trustees for the children. They open the accounts and must accompany their children when they want to withdraw money.

Iris Clark, assistant bank vice president, says more than 100 Crestview students have set up savings accounts through the program.

"We take between 35 and 40 deposits a week," said Clark. "They usually deposit between $100 and $150 a week. We take in more than $400 a month."

Kay Metz, coordinator for the Waco Independent School District's school-community relations program, says the experience is a good one because it gives students some practical life experience and helps them to learn to manage money.