MAJURO Marshall Islands – The Bank of Marshall Islands has launched its first scholarship program for elementary and high school students and also slashed its interest rate for tuition loans. The bank also bumped its TCD interest rate to 4% for two-year deposits.

Patrick Chen president and CEO of the BOMI announced in early December that the bank was putting up $20 000 to assist students from low-income families to attend private schools. “There are some smart kids out there but they can’t afford to attend a private school “” Chen said. The new scholarship program and interest cuts for tuition loans from 15% to 7% are part of the bank’s “”giving back”” to the community he said.

The new grade-school scholarship program is set to start in January. The tuition assistance will be paid directly to schools for the successful applicants on a quarterly basis to ensure recipients continue to meet academic requirements.

The bank also provides $10 000 a year to the Marshall Islands Scholarship Board for university-level aid and made a $5 000 donation to the College of the Marshall Islands Endowment Fund the first week of December.

CMI President Carl Hacker hailed the bank donation. “”To my knowledge this is the largest contribution that has been made to the CMI Endowment “” Hacker said. “”I want to thank Patrick Chen and the board of Bank of Marshall Islands for this important donation and more importantly the message that all of us who are working to make the Marshall Islands better need to pay attention and support the CMI Endowment. The future depends on decisions and actions like those taken by the president and board of Bank of Marshall Islands.””

The college spent the late 2000s struggling to meet Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation requirements to avoid losing its U.S. accreditation. It has enjoyed full accreditation since 2010 but was issued a warning largely related to fiscal issues including financial sustainability. For the first time in seven years the college managed to end fiscal 2013 on Sept. 30 without a deficit.