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Friday August 28th, 2015 8:42AM

Dawsonville bank pledges support to student loan program

By Ken Stanford Reporter
WASHINGTON - First Citizens Bank of Georgia in Dawsonville is the latest member bank of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) to commit loan funding to the iHELP private student loan program. First Citizens Bank of Georgia will also join iHELP as the originating lender for the state of Georgia.

"Community banks are always tuned in to the needs of their local customers, and ICBA is pleased that the First Citizens Bank of Georgia has committed itself to meeting the needs of local students through the iHELP private student loan program," said Dan Clancy, ICBA executive vice president of services.  "This program provides additional funding for tuition costs after other aid has been exhausted, ensuring that deserving students are able to attain a higher education."

iHELP, which was rolled out in the first quarter of 2010, is described as "a simple, transparent and low-cost" private lending program that is offered through local community banks to help their customers achieve their higher-education goals. iHELP was initially launched in South Dakota, home of the program s administrator, the Student Loan Finance Corporation (SLFC), which provides ICBA community bank members with turnkey loan origination and servicing support for the program, and ReliaMax Surety, a South Dakota domiciled insurance company providing insurance for iHELP loans. The iHELP program is now being rolled out nationwide.

"The response from schools and students in these states has been very positive, said William McDaniel," chairman of the Community Bank of Raymore and the ICBA Bank Services Committee.  "We expect to have a successful inaugural year and thank community banks like First Citizens Bank of Georgia for supporting the valued iHELP program."

iHELP will hit its first full lending cycle this July through September and has 10 states processing loans for the current academic year. These states include South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Georgia and Colorado.

"First Citizens Bank of Georgia is excited to join iHELP so we can offer this loan program to help our local customers and communities throughout Georgia," said William Wade, senior vice president of First Citizens Bank of Georgia.  "iHELP will allow us to meet our customers educational funding needs locally a strength of America s community banks. As a true community bank, we believe education is one of the key components to enhancing the long-term economic development of Georgia. We will be able to help other ICBA member banks attain the same goal in their communities through participation agreements. We are happy to begin working as both an originating and participating bank of this worthwhile program."

For more information about the iHELP private student loan program, contact Ann Anderson (303) 621-2533 or aanderson@ihelploan.com.
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