Fine china, cook ware, shower curtains, and ... a savings account?

Durand (Ill.) State Bank hopes to get engaged couples to spend as much time thinking about their finances as they do the color scheme for their kitchen.

The $50 million-asset bank has instituted a Wedding Registry Account that lets couples register at a bank in much the same way they do at a department store. Cash gifts from well-wishers are deposited directly into the account for newlyweds to use as they see fit.

Money can be deposited in the account three months before the wedding, and up to one year afterward. The introductory variable rate on the savings account is 7%.

After one year, the couple either removes the money from the bank or transfers it into another account.

Wm. W. Smith, director of marketing at Durand State, said he hopes the accounts will get newlyweds thinking about their money from a long-term perspective.

"So many young people don't know what they need to about finances," he said. "This is our way to give them some information on the big purchases they might have to make down the road."

Also, he acknowledged, it is a good way for the bank to get the couple's banking business after the big day.

Two couples have signed up for the account so far. How big the program gets is up to Cupid-and the bank's marketing department.

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