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Banc of California sets two Guinness World Records for youth training with Bill Clinton headlining event

Bill Clinton speaking to 6,000 youth at USC on November 9, 2014.
Bill Clinton speaking to 6,000 youth at USC on November 9, 2014.
Banc of California recently announced that its presentation of the “World’s Largest Financial Literacy Education Event,” featuring a keynote speech from President Bill Clinton, was officially certified by Guinness World Records® as breaking two records: the Biggest Ever Financial Literacy Training and Biggest Ever Financial Literacy Training in One Venue.

Held at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Galen Center, KPMG officially tallied that 5,964 students from at-risk communities throughout Southern California were trained at the event—easily setting both world records. According to USC, more than 7,000 total people were in attendance.

“We are grateful to President Clinton for joining us to shine a bright light on the importance of financial literacy training. His presence and shared experiences served as an inspirational example of why financial literacy is an important and necessary skill for young people,” said Steven Sugarman, Banc of California’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “I want to congratulate our team and community partners for working to make this world record event possible and for the positive effect it has had on thousands of kids.”

Designed to inspire students to reach their goals in life and to teach the importance of financial literacy skills, the event was hosted by Sugarman and the 41st Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, senior advisor to Banc of California. Also speaking were: Chad Brownstein, Vice Chairman of Banc of California; Eric Holoman, President of Magic Johnson Enterprises and Chairman of Banc of California’s Board of Directors Community Development Committee; and Denise Winston, a noted financial expert and author, who led the educational component of the program.

In part of his on-stage remarks addressing the young people in attendance, President Clinton said, “If you want to be powerful, if you want to live your dreams, if you want to get an education and make the most of it, you’ve got to know how to handle your money. Financial literacy is a very fancy term for saying: spend it smart, don’t blow it, save what you can.”

Millions of Americans lack basic financial knowledge. A 2008 National Foundation for Credit Counseling Financial Literacy Survey found that only 34 percent of American parents taught their teenagers how to balance a checkbook and even fewer have discussed how credit card interest and fees work. The same survey found only 59 percent of millennials say they pay their bills on time every month and that three out of every four Americans say they are not saving enough.

“Having an understanding of basic financial concepts, such as how to balance a check book, can make a tangible difference in a young person’s ability to succeed. Financial literacy needs to be as fundamental as reading, writing and arithmetic,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “Banc of California wants to help improve financial literacy education for our young people so that they can better fulfill the American dream. This event is an example of that effort.”

The event was a continuation of Banc of California’s recent sponsorship of the USC Athletic Department and its Trojan Kids Corner Program. This school year, the Trojan Kids Corner will provide Los Angeles youth organizations with more than 20,000 tickets to USC sporting events. By combining education and sports, the financial literacy event, and the women’s basketball game that followed, supported the mission of USC Athletics’ newly-endowed Otis Booth Community Outreach Program.

“Lower income communities are disproportionally impacted by a lack of financial skills, which drastically lower upward mobility. We are proud that our event taught these important skills to children in need and spotlighted the need for improved financial literacy for at-risk youth,” said Chad Brownstein, Vice Chairman of Banc of California’s Board of Directors.

More than a dozen other community partners also brought deserving students to the event including: Los Angeles Team Mentoring, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, JVS Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Unified School District Beyond the Bell program.

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