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TREASURY SECRETARY SUMMERS NAMES 2001 U.S. SAVINGS BONDS VOLUNTEER COMMITTEE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 7, 2000

Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers today named Richard L. Carrión, President, Chairman and CEO of Popular, Inc., and its subsidiary Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, National Chair of the 2001 U.S. Savings Bonds Volunteer Committee. The appointment took effect today at the Committee's annual Washington meeting. Mr. Carrión succeeds Russell D. Turner, President and CEO, United Space Alliance.

“Encouraging employees to invest in savings bonds is an important part of our efforts to meet America's demographic challenge as the baby-boom generation starts to retire,” said Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers. "You have shown what can be achieved by working together to promote savings among the employees of America.”

Mr. Carrión was named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 1993 and 1994 respectively, after serving in a variety of increasingly responsible positions at Banco Popular. He serves on the Boards of Directors of Verizon, American Home Products Corporation and Telecomunicaciones de Puerto Rico, Inc. He serves the community as President of the BPPR Foundation, and the Puerto Rico Olympic Trust as well as being a member of the International Olympic Committee and the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee.

The volunteer committee consists of 56 leaders from the private and public sectors. They include senior executives from major corporations, elected officials, and educators. The group coordinates the efforts of volunteers nationwide to encourage saving and educate Americans about U.S. Savings Bonds.

The 2001 committee will help the savings bonds program build upon recent successes. Among these are the increased popularity of the inflation-indexed Series I bonds. Sales grew to $1.7 billion in fiscal year 2000 nearly four times the $455 million sold the previous year.

Series I, inflation-indexed savings bonds are designed to offer all Americans a safe way to save that protects the purchasing power of their principal while offering a real rate of return over and above inflation. I Bonds purchased through April 2001 will earn 6.49 percent for the first six months and are guaranteed to earn 3.4 percent over inflation for 30 years. Available for as little as $50 the bonds are exempt from State and local income taxes and enjoy Federal tax deferral on earnings. Bonds cashed before 5 years are subject to a 3-month interest penalty.

A list of members of the 2001 U. S. Savings Bonds Volunteer Committee is attached.