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Financial Wellness Program Smart For the Community

The financial wellness program entitled "Money Smart" is once again being offered this fall through the combined resources and expertise of Pathfinder Bank and SUNY Oswego. The curriculum will cover a host of topics to help people better manage, plan and spend their hard-earned dollars. The program has gained considerable interest in recent years not only by students, but new community partners looking to provide a consumer education platform that introduces basic financial wellness to people of all ages. Shown pictured at SUNY Oswego’s Rich Hall School of Business recently in support of the program are from left to right front row: Sean Sharp, president of SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise); Deborah F. Stanley, President SUNY Oswego; and Deb Wise, FSS Coordinator Oswego County. Back row: Richard Skolnik, Dean of the School of Business, SUNY Oswego; Michele Torbitt, VP/Electronic Commerce at Pathfinder Bank; Reyne Pierce AVP/Retail Lending Manager at Pathfinder Bank; and Thomas Schneider, President and CEO at Pathfinder Bank.

Oswego, NY – People are getting smart about their finances. In fact, a lot of people are getting smart.

“Money Smart”, a program that started just a few years back as a proactive partnership between Pathfinder Bank and SUNY Oswego, has gained considerable interest by not only students, but new community partners looking to provide a consumer education platform that introduces basic financial wellness to people of all ages.

The six-week course is once again being offered this fall through the combined resources and expertise of Pathfinder Bank and SUNY Oswego, and will cover a host of topics to help people better manage, plan and spend their hard-earned dollars.The curriculum accompanies the Money Smart Computer Based Adult Education Program offered through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

However, according to Thomas W. Schneider, President and CEO at Pathfinder Bank, the program has transformed into something broader in the Oswego County community, and is providing new opportunities for incoming SUNY Oswego business students, area high school students, Cayuga Community College, and regional human service organizations.

“The growth of this program in our community has been  considerable,” said Schneider. “What started as an outreach initiative for a small group of adults, is now being received by hundreds of individuals of varied ages throughout the region.”

Additional partners to the Money Smart program have included: Oswego Public Library, SUNY Oswego, SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise), Cayuga Community College, Catholic Charities, Oswego County Opportunities, OCO Path, Alliance Church MOPS Group (mothers of pre-school), Civil Service Employees Association Union, Sandy Creek High School – Spanish Club, Fulton Community Development, Habitat for Humanity, Oswego High School, and Mexico High School – German Club.

Pathfinder Bank’s Michele Torbitt, coordinator of the Money Smart Program, said the collaboration with SUNY Oswego and their Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team has been instrumental in the growth of the Money Smart program.

“SUNY Oswego and SIFE have been significant in further developing our financial wellness materials as a complement to the Money Smart curriculum offered through the FDIC,” said Torbitt.  “The additional materials have opened the doors for new seminars and coursework\offered through our area high schools and other venues.”

According to Sean Sharp, President of SUNY Oswego’s SIFE, the collaboration between the campus community and Pathfinder Bank has been rewarding on multiple fronts.

“Not only are we seeing a growing number of individuals learn from our financial wellness programming, our SIFE team has been recognized on a regional and national level through numerous civic engagement competitions because of the Money Smart outreach,” said Sharp.

SUNY Oswego’s SIFE was named 2011 Regional Competition Division Champion, 2011 SIFE National Competition Division Runner-Up, and 2011 Civic Engagement Student Involvement Award for the efforts with Money Smart.

“SIFE and SUNY Oswego have played an integral role in the growing success of the financial wellness initiative,” added Schneider. “And, we look forward to seeing how far this partnership can take us in the years ahead.”

Upcoming Money Smart courses include: Pay Yourself First, November 2, 6 pm-7:30 pm. All classes are held at SUNY Oswego’s Rich Hall, Room 118A.

To enroll please call (315) 343-0057, extension 8014. The program is free to the public but class sizes are limited so make sure you call and register for a session soon. For additional information or to take the classes online in either Spanish or English visit www.pathfinderbank.com/moneysmart.

Pathfinder Bank is a New York State chartered savings bank headquartered in Oswego, whose deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.  The Bank has eight full-service offices located in Oswego, Fulton, Mexico, Lacona, Central Square, and Cicero.

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