FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 19, 2006
Visa USA, Commerce Bank, U.S. Representative Edolphus Towns and NFL Stars Osi Umenyiora of the New York Giants and Patrick Ramsey of the New York Jets Teach Brooklyn Students How to Tackle Their Financial Futures
Interactive “Financial Football” Game and Program Helps Thomas Jefferson High School Students Cross Real-Life Money Goal Line
Brooklyn, NY – September 19, 2006 – Going on offense to advance financial literacy, today, Visa USA, Commerce Bank, the NFL, PLAYERS INC and Representative Edolphus Towns (D-10-NY) have teamed up with NFL stars Osi Umenyiora of the New York Giants and Patrick Ramsey of the New York Jets to engage Brooklyn students in a different kind of football game - one that prepares them to become fiscally fit adults. Called “Financial Football,” this animated, money management computer game is the centerpiece of a 17-city Visa/NFL initiative to promote youth financial literacy around the country.
“Learning the fundamentals of money management at an early age gives young people a real advantage in meeting their own financial goals,” said Osi Umenyiora to a room full of students and teachers at Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn. “Managing money and finances is a vital life skill, and one that that is best taught, and learned, before high school graduation.”
“It takes the combined efforts of parents, teachers, and mentors within the community to give young adults a strong background in personal financial management,” said veteran quarterback, Patrick Ramsey. “Last season, I joined Visa in bringing this message to students in the Washington, D.C. area. Now, I have the chance to coach another game of “Financial Football” here in New York and to tell these students how imperative it will be for them to learn how to make good, smart, informed money decisions, as they plan for college and beyond.”
Huddled in the Thomas Jefferson High School Library, Umenyiora coached the “Giants” team comprised of half the students, while Ramsey headed up the “Jets” team. Together, the two engaged students in “Financial Football.” The 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.
“Financial Football” combines the structure and rules of the NFL with financial education questions of varying difficulty. To score points, a team needs to answer questions correctly. And, just like in the NFL, penalties can cost a team yardage. The team with the highest point total after four quarters wins the game.
"It is so critical for young people to learn smart money management skills because it is one of the basic building blocks for success in today's competitive and changing world," said U.S. Representative Edolphus Towns (D-10-NY), who also co-sponsored and attended today’s event. "I am pleased that students here at Thomas Jefferson will be able to use the valuable resources included in the Practical Money Skills for Life Program," added Towns.
Today’s event is the third stop of this educational campaign. Last year was the inaugural season for this national effort between Visa, the NFL and PLAYERS INC to get students engaged and excited about their financial futures. In addition to being a game, this year “Financial Football” is also a one week, five part financial literacy program designed for high school instruction.
“Equipping our nation’s youth with a roadmap to financial freedom and success really needs to be a cooperative effort between schools, the community and government,” said Michael Alexander, principal, Thomas Jefferson High School. “By working together, we are preparing them to make wise financial decisions for a lifetime.”
"Commerce Bank and Visa are committed to providing a variety of financial education programs that are designed to help people in the communities we serve develop sound money management skills for today and the future," said John Cunningham, Commerce Bank's Chief Marketing Officer. "Financial literacy is very important, and Visa's Financial Football game and Commerce Bank's CommerceWOW!Zone(r) are dynamic, interactive programs that provide fun, yet practical and comprehensive financial education for young people who will benefit from the information for years to come." The CommerceWOW!Zone is available online for free at www.commercewowzone.com.
“Financial Football” is part of Practical Money Skills for Life (www.PracticalMoneySkills.com), a comprehensive financial literacy program - available in English, Spanish and Chinese – that teaches young adults personal finance skills.
“Visa is proud of its long standing commitment to financial education and greatly appreciates the assistance we received today from Osi Umenyiora and Patrick Ramsey,” said Rhonda Bentz, vice president, Visa USA. “We take great pride in our NFL sponsorship, which is enabling us to work with so many talented players to give students the tools, resources and encouragement they need to become more financially literate.”
This free, educational resource provides teachers with lesson plans (kindergarten-college) mapped to their state education requirements. For students, there are interactive games and calculators designed to teach responsibility and important concepts such as earning, saving and budgeting money.
About Visa USA
Visa USA is the nation’s leading payment brand and largest payment system, enabling banks to provide their consumers 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 in the payment system - members, cardholders and merchants. Through its 13,432 member financial institutions, more than 510 million Visa-branded cards have been issued to cardholders in the United States. Last year, U.S.-based financial institutions relied on Visa’s processing system, VisaNet, to facilitate $1.6 trillion in transactions with unparalleled reliability.
Worldwide, cardholders in more than 150 countries carry more than 1 billion Visa-branded cards, accounting for more than $3 trillion in annual transaction volume.
Visa offers a trusted, reliable and convenient way to access and mobilize financial resources - anytime, anywhere, anyway.
About Commerce Bank
Commerce Bank, "America's Most Convenient Bank," is a leading retailer of financial services with nearly 400 convenient stores in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Virginia and southeast Florida. Commerce plans to build 65+ new stores and create 1,800 career opportunities in 2006. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., Commerce Bancorp (NYSE: CBH) has $43.4 billion in assets and in second quarter 2006 achieved a 24% increase in core deposits, a 34% increase in net loans and total asset growth of 30%. For more information about Commerce, please visit the company's interactive financial resource center at commerceonline.com, or call 888-751-9000.
For more information or to schedule an interview with a Visa USA spokesperson, please contact Maria Hatzikonstantinou (ext. 131) or Steve Burke (ext. 108) at (703) 683-5004.
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