Students Step Aboard Internet Banking

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Recent studies report that nearly 90 percent of all U.S. high school graduates are not financially literate. But a 26-ton, bright red bus was in Payson Monday to help change that.

The custom-built wellsfargo.com bus is a mobile education center designed to provide customer and student education virtually anywhere in the United States through secure, high-speed, satellite-enabled Internet access to wellsfargo.com.

The bus is equipped with 18 Internet terminals, a satellite dish and nine large plasma and LCD flat-screen monitors for video presentations.

"Our young people are graduating from high school and not fully understanding the basics of managing their money," said Don Curtis, Premier Banking manager for Wells Fargo in Payson.

"Having the wellsfargo.com bus visit here is a real neat opportunity for them. They can take advantage of the online curriculum presented to help them gain a basic knowledge of how to manage their money from checking, savings, credit, budgeting and investing."

Traveling the country for nine months and 50,000 miles, wellsfargo.com bus manager Paul Rich is on a mission to educate.

"Students who visit the bus learn about Wells Fargo's financial education online program, 'Banking on Our Future,'" Rich said. The program provides students access to online financial literacy skills not taught in typical school curriculums.

Wells Fargo was the first financial services company in the United States to launch Internet banking services for its customers when it introduced the service in 1995.

"We want to start our young people on a lifelong road of strong money management." Rich said.

"The program we present is fun for the students because they love the bus and that gets them inside and interested."

Payson students from grade school to high school where given a step into the future of banking as they climbed aboard the 45-foot-long high-tech bus. Automated shutters slowly closed around the exterior windows at the beginning of each presentation adding to the space-aged banking experience.

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