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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU banking program receives first students and first major support

From left, NMSU College of Business Dean Danny Arnold stands by while NationsBank President Clark Morrow presents a check worth $10,000 to NMSU finance professor James Cotter.

(NMSU photo by Michael Kiernan)

The Southwest Banking Center in New Mexico State University's College of Business Administration and Economics is getting off the ground with the help of new student applicants and a $10,000 contribution from NationsBank.

The first students will be starting the banking program this semester, said James Cotter, an NMSU finance professor and director of the Southwest Banking Center. "For some time, the regional banking community has encouraged NMSU to initiate a program designed to prepare people to enter the banking industry," he said. "In response, the finance department has created the Southwest Banking Center and designed a curriculum for students in the program to benefit banks in the area."

An important step in the process of creating the center is fund raising, Cotter said. About 75 percent of the NationsBank contribution will be used for student assistantships and the rest will support research on banking issues and administration of the center.

"At NationsBank we are real supporters of education," said Clark Morrow, NationsBank president. "The majority of the $10,000 is designated for direct student support. We're excited to be part of the program and its first major contributor."

In addition to continued fund raising activities, the next step in the process is bringing in students, Cotter said. Once students are accepted to the business college, they are eligible to apply for the banking program. Those selected will follow the banking program curriculum and receive a finance degree with a banking option. While in the program, students will receive financial support from the center as they progress toward graduation.

"We want students to be well-prepared as they enter their banking career," he said, so the option will include courses designed specifically for the banking students, in such areas as accounting, finance, professional selling and computer technology.

As part of the program, the students also will complete a paid internship where they will work in a financial institution for at least 400 hours and complete 30 hours of community service. "We want to indoctrinate the students into the culture of community service that exists in the banking industry," Cotter said.

"We expect graduates of the program to make strong contributions to the economic development of the state," said Danny Arnold, dean of NMSU's business college.

To find out more about the NMSU Southwest Banking Center or to download a program application, visit http://cbae.nmsu.edu/Departments/fire/SouthwestBanking_Center.html or e-mail Cotter at james-cotter@nmsu.edu.