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Solid Index Findings: Financial Resolutions Trump Family Time and Weight Loss for 2010

SunTrust Survey Reveals Holiday Decisions and Emotions Being Driven by Financial Implications

Dec 8, 2009

The New Year is around the corner and Americans are resolving to save more money and pay off more debt, trumping their desire to spend more time with family and lose weight, according to the latest Solid Index, a survey by SunTrust Banks . The survey revealed that 85 percent of Americans have financially-based resolutions for 2010, versus the 73 percent who say they'll spend more time with family and the 64 percent resolving to lose weight.

As people look to save money and reduce debt in 2010, they also express concern over how the holidays will impact their finances. Gift-giving decisions and overall excitement during the holidays are two areas affected by the financial implications - with four in ten (39 percent) respondents feeling less excited than usual about the holidays due to financial reasons.

"It is clear that the recession has had a major impact on the way people think about their savings and finances - and the holidays only heighten that focus," said Rilla Delorier, chief marketing officer for SunTrust Banks. "It's very telling that Americans view saving money as being more important than spending time with their family in 2010. It underscores the importance of getting on solid financial ground and taking control of your personal situation."

While spending money during the holidays seems inevitable, many are trying to plan ahead, as 60 percent of respondents indicated they began setting aside money for holiday gifts early this year. Somewhat surprising is that even though Americans planned ahead, 27 percent are still concerned about accumulating a substantial amount of debt during the holiday season. This sentiment is especially prevalent with 18-34 year olds as they seemed to plan ahead the most (71 percent), but also were more concerned about accumulating debt (55 percent), likely a result of the current economic situation.

  Other results from the Solid Index include:

  --  44 percent of respondents say their biggest challenge this year is
      finding money to purchase gifts for everyone on their list;

  --  Credit cards are still being used, with 27 percent of Americans
      planning to put most of their holiday spending on credit cards;

  --  Practicality is the theme of wish lists as 57 percent of respondents
      say they are asking for more practical gifts this year; and

  --  If Americans received an extra $100 this holiday season, 50 percent
      would save it or put it in the bank and 44 percent would use it to pay
      off debt or bills.

The Solid Index, a semi-monthly series seeking to understand the ways finances influence consumers' daily lives, states of mind and emotions, was conducted by StrategyOne as a five-question, single wave telephone omnibus survey among a census representative sample of 1,000 American adults aged 18 and older.

About SunTrust Banks, Inc.

SunTrust Banks, Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, is one of the nation's largest banking organizations, serving a broad range of consumer, commercial, corporate and institutional clients. As of September 30, 2009, SunTrust had total assets of $172.7 billion and total deposits of $114.5 billion. The Company operates an extensive branch and ATM network throughout the high-growth Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states and a full array of technology-based, 24-hour delivery channels. The Company also serves customers in selected markets nationally. Its primary businesses include deposit, credit, trust and investment services. Through various subsidiaries the Company provides mortgage banking, insurance, brokerage, equipment leasing and capital markets services. SunTrust's Internet address is

First Call Analyst: Putnam, Eugene
FCMN Contact:

SOURCE: SunTrust Banks, Inc.

CONTACT: Hugh Suhr, SunTrust, +1-404-827-6813,;
or Jennifer Hudson, of Edelman for SunTrust, +1-404-832-6780,