Cleveland, OH - September 18, 2007 - Tackling the problem of financial illiteracy among Ohio teenagers head-on, Ohio Treasurer of State Richard Cordray and Visa today announced the statewide rollout of an effort to improve the money management skills of high school students. Treasurer Cordray will be distributing free copies of "Financial Football"- an interactive money management video game with an NFL theme - to every high school and public library in Ohio.
The centerpiece of Visa's nationwide educational initiative with the NFL and PLAYERS INC, "Financial Football"helps students tackle their financial futures. This computer-based game is accompanied by a classroom curriculum and can also be downloaded for free on cell phones.
Treasurer Cordray kicked off this new financial literacy campaign today at Centennial High School in Columbus with help from Visa officials and Quarterback Derek Anderson of the Cleveland Browns. Anderson shared his personal experiences on the importance of money management with players from Centennial's football team along with other students.
Treasurer Cordray and Anderson then rolled up their sleeves and led student teams in a lively game of "Financial Football." Later in the day, Treasurer Cordray and Visa took the game on the road and also showcased it for students at Glenville High School in Cleveland with Browns Quarterback Brady Quinn.
"It is critical for high school students to know how to make smart money management decisions before heading off to college or entering the workforce,"said Anderson. "It takes the combined efforts of parents, teachers, and mentors within the community to help young adults develop and build strong financial muscles. I commend Treasurer Cordray for making Financial Football available throughout Ohio,"he added.
"I'm glad for the opportunity to teach Ohio students the importance of developing sound money management skills early in life,"said Quinn. "If you don't learn to budget, save, invest and pay your bills on time, the personal and national economic consequences can be devastating."
"We are working hard to make sure all Ohio high school students have access to as many home and classroom resources as possible to help put them on a path to financial freedom and success,"said Treasurer Cordray. "Raising the level of financial literacy awareness and education is not something that can be done overnight or by government alone. I am grateful to see that Visa shares my longstanding commitment to financial education.'
Demonstrating broad-based support for having financial education begin at home and extend to the classroom, a new study released by Visa USA shows 91% of consumers surveyed believe all high school students should take a financial education class before graduating.
Visa and Treasurer Cordray hope "Financial Football"can help students jumpstart the learning process. "Financial Football"puts students' fiscal knowledge to the test with a video game that combines the structure and rules of the NFL with financial education questions of varying difficulty. To score points, a player needs to answer various money management questions correctly. Wrong answers and penalties can cost a team yardage. The team with the highest point total after four quarters wins the game. The game content, developed with the cooperation of the NFL and its players, incorporates lessons taught through Practical Money Skills for Life, Visa's free, award-winning money management program.
In addition to being sent on a CD to every high school and public library in the state, "Financial Football"can also be played for free online at www.practicalmoneyskills.com/football or www.ohiotreasurer.gov. Sprint mobile customers can play the game on their cell phones by texting the word VISA to 24421.
Since 2005, "Financial Football"has been downloaded and played over 100,000 times and similarly rolled out statewide in West Virginia and Indiana, with additional states distributing it this fall.
"For over a decade Visa has been committed to promoting financial literacy and we are proud to be assisting Treasurer Cordray in his efforts to strengthen financial education efforts throughout Ohio,"said Jason Alderman, director, Visa USA.
"Financial Football"is part of Practical Money Skills for Life (www.practicalmoneyskills.com), a free, award-winning, teacher-tested and approved financial education program that is available in English, Spanish and Chinese. The program contains three comprehensive sections, complete with money management resources and lesson plans tailored for use at home, in the classroom or at work. It also contains an array of tips to help prepare for life changing financial events, from planning for a baby to saving for college and retirement, as well as a number of other budget calculators and interactive games. Visa also runs What's My Score (www.whatsmyscore.org), a leading higher education consumer awareness program. The website guides college students through the ABC's of a FICO credit score, from factors that can lower a score to ways on improving it, at no charge.
About Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray
Richard Cordray is the Ohio Treasurer. Elected in 2006, he manages all banking functions for the State of Ohio and an investment portfolio averaging $11 billion, and he is taking the lead to implement personal finance education in Ohio's high schools. Through Teachers Academies held in 2007, the Ohio Treasury has been working with the state's Department of Education to give teachers useful tools to begin offering financial education before a state law requiring it goes into effect in 2010. The ultimate goal is to arm young people with the knowledge to improve their chances of making good decisions and managing their affairs wisely.
About Visa USA
Visa USA is a leading payments brand and the nation's largest payments system, enabling banks to provide their consumer and business customers with a wide variety of payment alternatives tailored to meet their evolving needs. Visa USA is committed to increasing the choice, convenience, acceptance and security of Visa payments for all stakeholders - financial institutions, cardholders and merchants. As of March 31, 2007, in the United States, more than 521 million Visa-branded cards have been issued by more than 13,000 financial institution customers. Visa products generated $1.8 trillion in total volume in the United States during the four quarters ended March 31, 2007. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the globe. For more information, visit www.visa.com.