A young would-be bank robber tried twice in one day last month to rob branches of Connecticut banks - and was all but laughed out the door in both cases.

On July 16, the man walked into a Fleet Bank branch in Clinton at about 1 p.m. He handed a teller a note demanding "all your $100s, $50s, and $20s now."

A Fleet spokeswoman, Jeanette Harrison-Sullivan, said the teller just "stared at him." She noticed that his hands were on the counter, and she didn't think he had a weapon hidden under his T-shirt or in his shorts, Ms. Harrison said.

After the robber said, "This is a holdup," the teller responded, "You can't do this."

Defeated, the man ran off with the note but no loot.

About an hour later, wearing slightly different clothing, he tried again at a Citizens Bank branch in East Lyme. Again, he was refused.

Ms. Harrison stressed that Fleet advises tellers during security training that they should cooperate with robbers. "No human life is worth any amount of money," she said.

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Bart Lindsey is feeling pretty good about the blues lately.

The president and chief operating officer of First National Bank of Phillips County, Ark., arranged for a World Wide Web link between the bank's own site and that of the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Ark., held every October and known worldwide among music lovers.

The link may be paying off for the Helena-based bank, which has seen an increase in "hits" to its own Web home page. But officials don't know whether they've won any new accounts as a result.

In addition to the link between the festival's home page and the bank's, Mr. Lindsey said, many performers have their own home pages, also with links to First National.

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Once again, community banks and their employees have walked off with most of the American Bankers Association's bank/banker awards for outstanding contributions to consumer education.

The awards are given to people and banks that commit time and resources to creative education about the industry and personal finance.

Some of the winners:

*Janet Brown Exner, group banking services manager at Bank of Elmwood, Racine, Wis., who created a program to provide financial guidance for female juvenile offenders. The program, called Challenge, has helped 48 girls since November with budgeting, checking accounts, and responsible use of credit.

*Community First National Bank in Dickinson, N.D., which started a "bank" run by local high school students. The school's bank offered loans and deposit accounts to other students, and participants filled posts from chief executive to marketing director. Students even lobbied the North Dakota Legislative Assembly to change its definition of public funds to exclude money held in a student-run bank.

- Jonathan D. Epstein, Terence O'Hara

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