Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

News Release

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

BCC Receives $150,000 to Develop New Investor Education Model

Kickoff fair to be held at BCC Friday, January 19

BELLEVUE, WA (January 17, 2007) – The kickoff of a new type of investor education program at Bellevue Community College (BCC) will take place on campus Friday, January 19. The event will celebrate the college’s receipt of a $150,000 grant from the Investor Protection Trust to develop classes to teach the basics of saving and investing. The public will have an initial opportunity to ask financial questions of financial services providers, state agencies, and non profit organizations.

Governor Chris Gregoire commended BCC’s achievement and partnerships with the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and the Washington Financial Literacy Public-Private Partnership (FLPP) to offer what is being called a model for community colleges across the nation.

“This program will address a clear and concise need for investor education,” said Governor Gregoire. “Whether supporting young people looking to start out on the right foot, or helping those later in life protect their nest eggs, this program will bring financial planning skills to students in community colleges across Washington.”

Friday’s January 19 kickoff, which is free and open to the public, begins at 10:30 a.m. in the C Building on BCC’s main campus (3000 Landerholm Circle S.E. in Bellevue, at the intersection of S.E. 28th St. and 148th Ave. S.E.). Representatives from a variety of financial service providers, state agencies, nonprofit organizations, and Don Blandin, president and CEO of the Investor Protection Trust will be on hand to share information with the public. KISS 106.1 FM DJs will be broadcasting live and giving away prizes – including the opportunity to win $106 in cash.

Leslie Lum, director of the program, is a personal investment author and teaches in BCC’s Business Transfer program.

“Usually, we associate investment training with people of means, and that’s who most existing programs intend to reach,” said Lum. “But, the ability to understand investments is also an essential skill for people of low or middle income, or workers who are changing employers or facing a lay off. Our program will meet the needs for a diverse range of consumers.”

The training will familiarize students with the concepts of risk and return, asset allocation, investment vehicles, evaluation of investment opportunities and providers, warning signs of fraud, and how investments fit into a personal financial plan. The curriculum is being developed with a grant of $150,000 from the Investor Protection Trust, which DFI helped to facilitate. Leslie and her colleagues plan to expand the program to community colleges throughout Washington.

“Community colleges are ideal for bridging the investment training gap because they touch so many people at critical points in their lives,” said Don Blandin. “The new approach being developed at Bellevue Community College will teach such students how to make wise and safe investment choices that will strengthen them financially and improve their prospects for the future,” Blandin continued. “The BCC program is a model that can be used by colleges nationwide to help ensure that our citizens are financially savvy as they prepare for all life stages from their youth through retirement.”

BCC and DFI participate in the Financial Literacy Public Private Partnership, a coalition of financial services providers, government, and nonprofit agencies established by the legislature to improve financial literacy in Washington State. The partnership is co-chaired by Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37th District) and Senator Karen Keiser (D-33rd District).

“We are pleased to support BCC and the Department of Financial Institutions help more people acquire the fundamental knowledge and skills they need to make the critical financial decisions that will affect the rest of their lives,” commented Representative Tomiko Santos.

DFI regulates a variety of our state’s financial service providers. The department has an extensive financial literacy and outreach program focused on educating consumers about financial fraud. Director, Scott Jarvis, praised BCC for reaching out to consumers who are sometimes missed by traditional investment education.

“BCC is known for providing innovative educational opportunities,” said Director Jarvis. “They share our passion for educating the public about personal finance. We are excited to play a role in this new venture and look forward to a successful partnership.”

Elements of the program being developed include:

The program incorporates comprehensive train-the-trainer sessions. The curriculum materials will available to educators at other colleges and community groups. As the program grows, students will be encouraged to share their stories and engage in peer-to-peer training.

“This is the beginning of an exciting opportunity,” said Lum. “We will develop the networks throughout the state and a forum where educators can collaborate on how to deliver the education to college students, low-income students, seniors, and other community groups.”

Individuals, groups, or educators interested in bringing investor education to their communities or educational institutions may contact Leslie Lum, at llum@bcc.ctc.edu or phone (425) 564-4063.

For more information about the investor education program and opportunities to interview students currently involved in investing, visit:

About the Investor Protection Trust (IPT)
IPT (www.investorprotection.org) is a nonprofit organization devoted to investor education. Over half of all Americans are now invested in the securities markets, making investor education and protection vitally important. Since 1993 the Investor Protection Trust has worked with the states and at the national level to provide the independent, objective investor education needed by all Americans to make informed investment decisions.

Bob Adams, Bellevue Community College
PH 425.564.3081 badams@bcc.ctc.edu

Scott Kinney, Director of Communications
PH 360.902.0517 skinney@dfi.wa.gov