Classes start today in the first executive MBA program created specifically for community bankers.

The 12-month program is the result of a collaboration between Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn., and America's Community Bankers.

The first class comprises 20 graduates of ACB's National School of Banking, which is on the Fairfield campus. Students are to take seven courses in two 10-day sessions at Fairfield and five classes at home via the Internet.

Graduates are to leave the program with "state-of-the-art" management skills, said Walter Ryba, dean of Fairfield's School of Business.

ACB of Washington, D.C., has worked with Fairfield University to develop banker-education programs since 1979.

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