Monday, March 24, 2008

Money Smart Program Earns National Recognition

OSWEGO, New York – An Oswego-based financial wellness program entitled, Money Smart, has garnered national recognition, with an Honorable Mention at the 2007 Community Bank Awards, sponsored by the America’s Community Bankers Association.

The seven-week program, which began in Spring 2007, and just recently started up their Spring 2008 session, is a collaborative effort between Pathfinder Bank, SUNY Oswego, and the Oswego Public Library.

“We’re very pleased with the national recognition the Money Smart Program has received through the America’s Community Bankers Association,” said Thomas W. Schneider, President and CEO at Pathfinder Bank. “This program has always been about giving back to the community, by providing an educational forum to individuals who want to learn more about financial management. To say the least, the program has been very successful, and the collaboration with the Oswego Public Library and SUNY Oswego has benefited the initiative considerably.”

Pathfinder Bank professionals, SUNY Oswego business students, and SUNY Oswego faculty collaborate to team teach the courses.

One of the faculty teaching the sessions is Dr. Jack Narayan, Distinguished Teaching Professor of Mathematics, who has served as project director on several national and state grants for Mathematics Reform to enhance student learning and facilitate faculty, course and curriculum development.

Amongst the student educators from SUNY Oswego is David McLaughlin, the Vice President of the honorary society Phi Kappa Phi and a recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

“Money Smart has been a wonderful partnership between Pathfinder Bank, the Oswego Public Library, and SUNY Oswego,” said Richard Skolnik, Dean, School of Business at SUNY Oswego, “and, it has also been rewarding to see the benefits the program has had on this community.”

“We utilize Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) materials in our program but tailor that information to local concerns by making sure we spend enough time at each session answering specific questions,” said Pathfinder Bank Assistant Vice President Michele Torbitt, who has been active in the program’s development.

According to Schneider the program covers topics including “Borrowing Basics,” “Charge it Right,” and “Loan to Own.”

The program is free and open to the public.

Participants can attend all of the sessions or choose those they are most interested in.

“In order to effectively manage your money, you have to know the basics,” Schneider added. “You have to know how to save, how to effectively use credit, and how to keep track of your money. This program was designed to provide that knowledge.”

“Now more than ever, the public’s knowledge of financial products and financial management is important to their long term success,” he said. “We feel it is part of our responsibility to be part of this education.”

Sessions take place on Wednesdays from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Oswego Public Library.

Textbook materials are provided and free to all participants.

For more information, call the Oswego Public Library at 315-341-5867.

Registration is encouraged.

Class sizes are limited.