BBCN (ticker: CLFC, exchange: NASDAQ Global Select Market (.O))
News Release -
Center Financial Recognized by the FDIC for its Contribution on the Korean Version Money Smart
LOS ANGELES, CA - July 14, 2003 - On July 10, 2003 the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) launched the Korean-language version of Money Smart, the FDIC's adult financial education curriculum. Center Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:CLFC), the parent of Center Bank, has worked closely with the FDIC in developing the program to deliver financial education to Korean-speaking Americans.
"Center Bank caters to a number of diversified ethnic communities. Working closely with the FDIC on the Money Smart initiative has created greater opportunities to serve further diversified markets," said Paul Seon-Hong Kim, president and CEO of Center Financial. "Our aim going forward is to provide real value to our customers, and the Money Smart is a great vehicle to help us accomplish this goal. I encourage other banks and community organizations to join us in working to educate customers about solid financial management tools and techniques. We believe this endeavor will serve citizens, business and neighbors and contribute to their achieving their dreams, while creating greater communities. This rollout is significant because Los Angeles has the largest concentration of Koreans outside Korea itself."
"We began working with the FDIC about a year ago to develop the Korean language version of the Money Smart program and intend to effectively utilize it to improve the communities we serve. The Money Smart initiative, which is available in several foreign languages, is not only helpful in promoting community based financial education but also is a great way for Center Bank to deliver products and services to a wider cross section of the markets we serve," Mr. Kim added.
"I would like to acknowledge Center Bank's outstanding work and commitment to the Korean community in Los Angeles. Their efforts in underwriting the translation of Money Smart into Korean are exemplary and deserving of special recognition," said Michael Zamorski, Director of the FDIC's Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection (DSC).
Other Money Smart Alliance Partners in Los Angeles include the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department Of Labor Women's Bureau, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the City of Los Angeles, the Internal Revenue Service, Operation HOPE, First AME Church, CHARO, and other local non-profit, faith-based, and community organizations. The Money Smart curriculum is being used as an integral part of efforts citywide to address the issues of predatory lending and minorities' lack of access to mainstream banking services.
Since the introduction of the FDIC's Money Smart Program in English in July 2001, more than 100,000 people have completed the course nationwide. Nationwide, the FDIC has distributed more than 66,000 copies of Money Smart to 21,000 financial institutions, faith-based organizations, city and community colleges, and federal government partners. Last year, the FDIC launched the Spanish language version of the curriculum in Chicago, where more than 700 adults have already received classes in Spanish. A Chinese language version was launched in March 2003. In addition to the English, Spanish, Chinese and Korean versions now available, Money Smart is being translated into the Vietnamese language and that version is scheduled for release later this year. For information on this program visit http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/moneysmart/index.html.
About Center Financial Corporation
Center Financial Corporation is the parent of Center Bank, a community bank offering a full-range of financial services, which was founded in 1986. Center Bank changed its name from California Center Bank in December 2002. It specializes in commercial and SBA loans and trade finance products for multi-ethnic and small business customers. The Bank operates 13 branches throughout Southern California and four Loan Production Offices located in Phoenix, Seattle, Denver and Washington D.C. It is one of the largest financial institutions in the nation focusing on the Korean-American community. Further information about the Company can be found at www.centerbank.com.