OVB celebrates Get Smart About Credit campaign

October might bring spooky frights with Halloween, but it’s also when the American Bankers Association celebrates its Get Smart About Credit campaign. While Oct. 17 was designated as Get Smart About Credit Day, OVB has celebrated the initiative all month with plans to continue doing so this fall and winter.

vintonelem3

OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush presents Adventures in Credit to area elementary school.

Get Smart About Credit is a national campaign comprised of bank volunteers who help youth understand credit and other important financial lessons. Now in its 17th year, this year’s event once again reached children across the country. According to the ABA, the primary purpose of Get Smart About Credit is to prepare students to join the workforce by making sure they have an understanding of credit and other money management skills.

OVB celebrated Get Smart About Credit Day at Point Pleasant High School on Oct. 17. The credit lesson was worked into the OVB BANKit program, which features interactive lessons on financial topics throughout the school year. OVB also presented credit focused lessons at River Valley High School. Additional credit presentations are scheduled to take place later this fall at area high schools in both Ohio and West Virginia.

Michelle Alderman, personal finance teacher at River Valley High School, emphasized the importance of teaching students how credit works.

“I think it is important for students to learn about credit early because for some in just a couple of years they will be out in the ‘real world’ making financial decisions for themselves,” Alderman said. “During the credit lessons covered by myself and through the OVB BANKit program, students learn that credit can be a positive and negative source in their lives. Students do not have any experience with credit at this point and these lessons illustrate how interest, time and monthly payments can affect the amount borrowed. We also discuss how credit can affect their ability to obtain employment and finance certain items they will need later in life. Credit is an important lesson and should be touched on as much as possible to prepare these students for borrowing for college, a home or automobile.”

In addition to OVB BANKit, credit lessons are incorporated into OVB’s other financial education programs, which include elementary grade levels. OVB plans to present Adventures in Credit, featuring the Centsables, at area elementary schools this fall and winter. The presentation includes an interactive lesson where students must help their superhero friends determine whether or not to use credit for the purchase of a new mega bike. As students learn the pros and cons of credit, they also get experience in calculating the cost of interest.

Get Smart About Credit teaches students that credit education is more than paying for college, credit cards and loans. The campaign aims to show that a true understanding of credit also encompasses budgeting, credit report comprehension and identity protection. By promoting these important lessons in area schools, OVB hopes to make an impact on our future community leaders.

Looking for ways to work in the Get Smart About Credit initiative at home with your family? We’ve got you covered with these helpful tips:

  1. Pay your bills on time. This sounds like a simple concept, right? However, too often people find themselves making late credit card payments. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, set up alerts on your phone as a reminder to get those bills paid on time. If you are able, pay your bill in full. If not, at least make sure to pay the minimum when due.
  2. Watch for warning signs of credit trouble. If you find yourself using credit for all purchases or always making late payments and/or barely scraping by to afford your minimum amount due, you’re already in trouble. The best thing to do in this situation is pay what you can and avoid making any more purchases with your credit card. If you are feeling overwhelmed ask your bank if they have any suggestions to help you get back on track.
  3. Budget, budget, budget. Setting and sticking with a budget is the first step to financial freedom. By adhering to a spending plan and working to build your savings, you will be less likely to overspend on credit cards, which will also help you save on added fees, such as interest costs.
  4. Think before you spend. Often those who encounter credit issues make the common mistake of purchasing items via credit without truly thinking about what it is they are purchasing. Do not pay for things using credit without understanding how it may affect your budget first. Make sure that you will have the means to make payments on your purchase before you reach for the credit card.
  5. Take advantage of your annual free credit report. It is recommended to have your credit checked annually to review for any possible errors on inaccuracies. By doing this you also help protect yourself against the dangers of identity theft. Check your credit for free annually by going to annualcreditreport.com, the official site set up by law from the three national credit reporting agencies. Be sure to type in the address exactly as is since there are many “lookalike” sites, which can charge you for the report or a subscription fee as well as collect information from you for marketing purposes.
  6. Utilize your bank services. Banks are more than money in a vault. They offer valuable services that students can benefit from, including student checking accounts, debit cards, mobile and online banking, balance alerts, personal loans, direct deposit and more. OVB also offers Benjamin Tracker, a helpful tool to help you stick with your budget and not overspend. In addition, OVB also offers a variety of financial education programs.
  7. Ask questions. Whether you are a student looking for advice or an adult wanting to improve your financial circumstances, ask for help. Your local banker is a great place to start.

For more information on OVB’s financial education programs or to schedule a presentation, e-mail OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush at hdroush@ovbc.com.

 

 

OVB BANKit looks to make impact in area schools

The 2019-2020 academic year was officially underway last month as area students headed back to the classroom. With school in session, Ohio Valley Bank also returned to local classrooms with their BANKit program.

2019 PPHS BANKit

2018-2019 OVB BANKit winners pose with OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush after earning their cash prizes.

The OVB BANKit program, which was created in 2010, brings real-life banking lessons to the classroom in a fun, interactive format. OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush conducts each lesson, which typically takes place on a monthly basis at each participating school. The program works as a game in which students are given $100 in “buzz bucks,” the OVB BANKit currency. Students have the option to invest their buzz bucks as they wish among different accounts, including CDs, money market, basic checking and savings. They also have the option to purchase and sell shares of stock in the game’s mock company, Pseudosoft.

OVB partners with several area high schools to present the program. Local teachers graciously open their classrooms for BANKit, and often make the program part of a class participation grade. Michelle Alderman, River Valley High School personal finance teacher, said that she enjoyed being able to utilize BANKit to coincide with her lessons.

“The BANKit program is beneficial to the curriculum I teach because it allows hands-on practice of the applications they learn in the classroom. For example, instead of just hearing about interest, they are actually able to see how interest works within their savings tools within the BANKit game and watch how their money can grow,” Alderman said.

Roush described the program as being a great tool that brings financial literacy to area youth.

“OVB BANKit is a very hands-on experience. Instead of just talking to students about the functions of a bank and account types, the program lets them experience what it’s like to have various accounts. It forces them to keep track of their funds and teaches them how to properly budget. Through this interactive style, students learn more through actual experience as opposed to reading a textbook,” she said. “In my classroom experiences with the program, it’s been fun to see how competitive the students get. They all want to have the most money at the end of the year. Since we have prizes at stake, they are extra motivated, and it’s nice to know that they are learning valuable skills along the way too.”

While students play the BANKit game with buzz bucks, actual cash prizes are at stake. The student at each participating school who ends the year/semester with the highest portfolio total wins a cash prize of $50. In addition, the student who wins the final review game, which covers all of the lessons taught throughout the course of the program, wins $20. In addition, all final portfolio totals per class are averaged, with the winning class enjoying a group prize, such as a pizza party or cupcakes.

Johnathan Mayne, Point Pleasant High School civics teacher, said the program helps students meet the required personal finance unit of civics.

“Personal finance is a required part of the civics curriculum and (BANKit) has been a great program over the many years to cover the required material and let the students have fun doing it,” he added. “Most high school students have no idea about how accounts, loans, credit, etc. work. I believe it is greatly beneficial for them to know this before leaving high school and embarking on their journey to adulthood. And that is also what I hope they get out of the program.”

Joshua Riffe, social studies teacher at Gallia Academy High School, agreed that OVB BANKit helps prepare students for life after high school.

“Students get relevant financial information that will benefit them in their adult lives,” Riffe said. “This program gives financial information everyone needs.”

During each OVB BANKit visit, students draw a Real Life Card, which may force them to pay an unforeseen bill or provide them with unexpected cash. Students also have a chance to manage their banking and make deposits/withdrawals in their accounts. Mayne said the students’ reaction to Real Life Cards was his favorite part of the game as well as the banking simulation. While Alderman described the banking portion as a great tie-in to the lessons she teaches.

“My favorite aspect of the program is that students get to sharpen their financial skills throughout the semester through playing the BANKit game. I typically teach a unit on checking accounts during the first four weeks of school so it is nice that students get to keep using these skills learned throughout the semester,” Alderman said. “From this program I hope students become better prepared for their financial future. I hope they gain confidence to feel comfortable managing their own finances and make wise financial decisions.”

In addition to the banking activity, each BANKit lesson covers a financial topic. Lessons set for this academic year include:

  1. Basic differences in bank account types
  2. Filling out bank paperwork, such as deposits and withdrawals; check writing; updating check register
  3. Reading a bank statement
  4. Credit/Cost of Credit/ Credit Reports/Credit Scores
  5. Budgeting
  6. Identity Theft
  7. Credit vs. Debit
  8. Interest

For more information on the OVB BANKit program and other financial education programs, visit http://www.ovbc.com and/or contact Roush at hdroush@ovbc.com.

 

Cut college costs with savings tips

Pink piggy bank with a dollar bill in the slot

College is an exciting time for young adults. For many freshmen, college is the first time they are on their own and out from their parents’ roof. This comes with many challenges, including financial issues.

Expense is certainly one of the most difficult aspects of college. Money management is tough for all ages, but can be especially stressful to students who are dealing with newfound independence and hectic class schedules. A checking account is a great tool that can help students budget. Along with keeping funds safe and secure, some checking accounts even offer student perks. Ohio Valley Bank’s Right Start Checking is available to customers ages 16-25. With this account, students can still have the comfort of their hometown bank as well as enjoy no monthly service fee and five free non-OVB ATM transactions per month. In addition, Right Start Checking enables access to free mobile banking, which is a great asset for students who go away to school. Through this feature, eligible students may deposit a check from the comfort of campus.

While college is the first step into adulthood, parents should still communicate with their college-aged children, especially when it comes to money issues. Helping them balance a checkbook as well as educating them on the importance of saving can make a huge difference. Working together on a college budget can be a tremendous help for new freshmen as well. Many college students participate in work study programs or work part-time jobs and internships to earn money, while others receive an allowance from their parents. Regardless of how income is generated, setting and sticking with a budget will help college students stay on track financially as well as benefit them post-graduation.

A good tool to help stick with a budget, is OVB’s Benjamin Tracker, which enables users to manage money, monitor spending, set goals, and actually see where their money goes. This free product, which is available through both NetTeller internet banking and the OVB App, is an important resource for those looking to save money and improve their financial health. As college students are managing their own finances for the first time, Benjamin Tracker is very beneficial as it provides a visual of where they should cut costs.

There are many other ways to save in college. Here are some of our top tips:

  1. Use your student ID. Many businesses from retail shops to restaurants to hair salons offer discounts to college students. Most only require to see a valid student ID. The discounts might be small, but every little bit helps when you live on a college shoestring budget. Most campus student unions provide a list of locations that offer student discounts.
  2. Make the most of your meal plan. Many college freshmen live on campus and have a meal plan included in their housing fee. While it may be tempting to skip the cafeteria and go for takeout instead, it is wasting money when you already have food paid for in your meal plan. If you are unhappy with your meal plan, look into other campus options. Many college campuses have additional cafes and shops that use meal plan credits or offer discounts.
  3. Split costs with roommates. Sharing really is caring. If you are living with a roommate or roommates, work together to divvy up the items needed for your dorm or apartment. Not only do you avoid have duplicate items, you all benefit by saving money. Food is a great part of sharing with roommates. If you really can’t stand to use your meal plan sometimes, pool your money to order a pizza. Avoid buying coffee before class every morning by going in on a coffee maker together. Working together on these little things will help you all save.
  4. Check out campus events. It is always tempting to go out in college and explore your new town, but that can put a strain on your wallet. Thankfully most colleges offer a wide-array of student events that are free. From concerts and dances to festivals and more, your university most likely has you covered. Not only do you get a chance to explore your school, but you don’t have to go broke either.
  5. Cut costs with used textbooks. One of the first noticeable expenses for many college students is their required textbook prices. A great way to save is to purchase used versions. Most campus bookstores offer used copies and many also allow you to sell your books back at the end of the semester. If you are friends with a classmate, consider sharing books as another way to save.
  6. Watch application dates. Many scholarships renew as long as you continue to fill out the required forms on time. Missing these due dates could drastically affect the cost of your tuition. Set phone alerts to make sure you are on top of this.
  7. Be cautious when it comes to credit. Using credit cards irresponsibly is a problem many adults encounter. If you have a credit card, only use it knowing you have the necessary funds to make your payments on time. Avoid cards with an annual fee. Most importantly, do not rely on credit for day-to-day expenses.
  8. Seek out free transportation. If you are on a large campus instead of driving everywhere, see if there are free transportation options. Many large universities offer complimentary shuttle services. When going out with friends, carpool or pool your money on a transportation service, such as Uber or Lyft.
  9. Cut the cable. Cable can be quite expensive. Cable isn’t really necessary, when your focus should be on school. There are many free student events, including movie nights or sporting events, which can replace your television time. If you are lucky, maybe your campus housing will provide cable. If not, consider sharing the costs of an online streaming service with roommates if access to television is a necessity you can’t live without.
  10. Make school your top priority. College life is so much more than classwork and studying, but at the end of the day the main reason you are there is to learn. By keeping your main focus on school you will be less likely to become distracted, and as a result, will avoid spending your money on unnecessary things.

College is a perfect time to learn and grow before jumping into adulthood. By making sound financial decisions in college, you will be on the right track when it comes to starting your life and career. From all of us at OVB, have a happy and successful semester!

Back to school we go

 

schoolabc

By Hope Roush, OVB Financial Literacy Leader

Sweet, sweet summer, oh how you came and went in a flash. Yes, it’s time to get ready to hit the books and head back to school. While the weather is still in summer sunshine mode, area students are set to return to school this week.

It might be sad to see summer vacation come to a close, but the start of a new school year can be an exciting time. Along with new academic challenges, the start of the school year also brings the chance for new clubs/activities as well as fall athletics. Just getting back into the school routine is a fresh start for both students and parents.

While a new school year is exciting, it can provide financial stress on many families. If you missed the Ohio Sales Tax Holiday earlier this month, there are still many ways to save on the upcoming academic year. One thing to avoid added costs is to find out exactly what items your child will need. Fortunately, most schools now provide supply lists. By sticking with the list, you won’t be tempted to overspend on unnecessary supplies. As many schools also provide basic supplies, knowing what is required to purchase can be a huge saving on your wallet. Also, check what school supplies you already have at home before you shop. Read more of this post

Take advantage of Sales Tax Holiday

Back to School.

Even though we are soaking up those last few bits of summer, it’s already time to start thinking about going back to school. The start of a new academic year can be a financial challenge for many families. Thankfully, Ohio is hosting the annual Sales Tax Holiday this weekend.

The Sales Tax Holiday will kick off midnight Friday, Aug. 2 and end 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 4. According to the Department of Ohio Taxation, the following items are exempt from sales and use tax: clothing priced at $75 per item or less; school supplies priced at $20 per item or less; and school instructional material priced at $20 per item or less. Items used in a trade or business are not exempt.

As the definition of “clothing” can be broad, the following clothing items qualify under the Sales Tax Holiday guidelines: shirts; blouses; sweaters; pants; shorts; skirts; dresses; uniforms (athletic and nonathletic); shoes; shoe laces; insoles for shoes; sneakers; sandals; boots; overshoes; slippers; steel-toed shoes; underwear; socks and stockings; hosiery; pantyhose; footlets; coats and jackets; rainware; gloves and mittens for general use; hats and caps; ear muffs; belts and suspenders; neckties; scarves; aprons (household and shop); lab coats; athletic supporters; bathing suits and caps; beach capes and coats; costumes; baby receiving blankets; diapers (both children and adult, including disposable diapers); rubber pants; garters and garter belts; girdles; formal ware; and wedding apparel.

School supplies that qualify include: binders; book bags; calculators; cellophane tape; blackboard chalk; compasses; composition books; crayons; erasers; folders (expandable, pocket, plastic, and manila); glue, paste, and paste sticks; highlighters; index cards; index card boxes; legal pads; lunch boxes; markers; notebooks; paper; loose leaf ruled notebook paper, copy paper, graph paper, tracing piper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board, and construction paper; pencil boxes and other school supply boxes; pencil sharpeners; pencils; pens; protractors; rulers; scissors; and writing tablets. As for instructional materials, only the following items will be included: reference books; reference maps and globes; textbooks; and workbooks.

According to the Department of Ohio Taxation, as for applying coupons/discounts in addition to the sales tax holiday, the following protocol would take place: “If a retailer offers a discount to reduce the price of an eligible item to $20 (applies to school supplies) or less or $75 (applies to clothing) or less, the item will qualify for the exemption. This applies to all discounts even if a retailer’s coupon or loyalty card is required to secure the discount. If a retailer accepts a coupon that entitles the retailer to third-party reimbursement, such as a manufacturer’s coupon, the discount provided by the coupon does not reduce the item’s sale price for purposes of determining whether the item is eligible for the exemption.”

With online shopping, if all items in a shipment qualify as eligible items and the sales price for each is within the sales tax holiday price threshold, shipping and handling charges are not taxable. For more information on the sales tax holiday guidelines, visit http://www.tax.ohio.gov.

Soak up summer fun at the fair

Summer brings us hot days, pool time, vacations, and barbeques. Another important aspect of our area summer? The county fair, of course! Locally, many fairs have already kicked off, but there are plenty more in store now through August.

2019 Jackson Scholar Pic

Check out our scholarship display at the Jackson Fair, featuring 2019 scholar Annalee Warrens. 

If you missed last week’s Lawrence and Madison County Fairs, plan to visit the Fayette and Jackson County Fairs, both of which are taking place this week. Each of these wonderful events boasts fun and entertainment for all ages.

While visiting the Jackson Fair also make sure to stop by our OVB 4-H Scholarship booth, which features 2019 scholar Annalee Warrens. A graduate of Jackson High School, Warrens plans to attend Ohio State University to become a vocational agriculture teacher. She is the daughter of Jered and Missy Warrens.

Other upcoming area fairs include:

  • Cabell County Fair (W.Va.) – July 22-27

Check out the OVB 4-H Scholarship booth featuring Cabell’s newest scholar, Morgan Christian. She is the daughter of Michael Christian and Carol DeBord. Christian is a graduate of Cabell Midland High School and plans to attend West Virginia University to study biology. Watch the current scholars receive their checks during a special presentation Friday, July 26 at 6:30 p.m.

  • Pike County Fair – July 29-Aug. 3

Pike County 4-H Scholars will be featured once again at the OVB 4-H Scholarship booth. Layne Moorman, our 2019 scholar, is the newest member of the OVB 4-H family. Moorman is the daughter of Michael and Stacy Moorman. She is a graduate of Piketon High School and plans to attend Ohio University to study chemistry. Watch Moorman and Pike’s current scholars receive their checks at the fair 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 29.

  • Gallia County Fair – July 29-Aug. 3

Don’t miss the Gallia OVB 4-H scholarship booth, featuring current scholars and 2019 recipient, Josie Jones. She is the daughter of Vernon and Jodi Jones. She recently graduated from River Valley High School and plans to attend Marshall University to pursue a career as a speech language pathologist. Watch Jones and current scholars receive their checks during a special presentation 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug 1.

  • Mason County Fair (W.Va.) – Aug. 5-10

Mason County’s 2019 scholar, Sarah Deem, will be featured on the OVB 4-H Scholarship display. Deem is the daughter of Deron and Melissa Deem. She is also the sister of 2016 scholar, Katherine. She is a graduate of Point Pleasant High School and plans to attend West Virginia University to study marketing and advertising/public relations. Watch current scholars receive their checks Tuesday, Aug. 6 prior to the lamb show.

  • Athens County Fair – Aug. 5-10
  • Scioto County Fair – Aug. 5-10
  • Ross County Fair – Aug. 5-10
  • Meigs County Fair – Aug. 12-17

Don’t miss the chance to check out OVB’s Meigs 4-H Scholarship booth. This year’s display features 2019 scholar Ciera Older. She is the daughter of Chris and Melissa Lambert. A recent graduate of Meigs High School, Older plans to attend Ohio University to study elementary education. Don’t miss the scholar check presentation, Sunday, Aug. 11 following the fair parade at 7:30 p.m.

For more information on fair events, visit your local fair’s website/Facebook page. Have a safe and fun fair season!

 

OVB Boot Camp brings financial fun to 4-H

3

Campers learn how to budget with candy.

Summer and 4-H camp go together like peanut butter and jelly. Ohio Valley Bank was pleased to once again teach a class at Mason County 4-H Camp this year. The class, OVB Boot Camp, was offered at both older and younger camps.

OVB Boot Camp has become a tradition in Mason County 4-H, and several campers returned to enjoy this year’s class. In addition, several new campers participated as well. In total, 21 campers completed the program.

“I really enjoy seeing familiar faces return and choose to take our OVB Boot Camp class each year. It’s nice to see their progress. It’s especially enjoyable when a camper moves up from younger to older camp and continues to take the class. We really get to know many of these kids and it is so much fun seeing them learn and grow,” Hope Roush, OVB financial literacy leader, said. “I also enjoy welcoming new campers into the OVB Boot Camp family. I really like seeing the veteran campers take an active role in helping the first-timers because it again shows me how much they’ve learned.”

OVB Boot Camp covered a variety of financial topics at both camps. Lessons were presented in a fun, interactive format. For example, students had to make financial decisions based on a candy budget. Additional lessons and games included the following:

  1. Basic account types
  2. Basic bank paperwork, including check writing as well deposits/withdrawals
  3. Interest
  4. Debit vs. Credit
  5. Budgeting

Along with each daily lesson, campers participated in a game where they had to juggle a mock portfolio of their bank accounts. Each day they drew a Real Life Card, which either required them to pay a bill or provided them with unexpected cash. Campers also had an opportunity during this time to make deposits and withdrawals from their accounts. In addition, campers could choose to give in to their sweet tooth temptation and spend their money on snacks or continue to save. This year’s older camp portfolio winner was Olivia Stanley, while Audrey Reynolds took top honors at younger camp.

On the final day of both camps all accounts were liquidated. Campers had the opportunity to use their mock money to bid on real prizes at the annual OVB Boot Camp auction. Everyone was able to purchase at least one fun item. Prizes included a range of snacks, toys, games, movies and gift cards. Campers were excited to take home all of their purchased prizes.

“The auction is really fun for our campers, but more importantly it’s where they really see the importance of saving money and making wise budget choices. They quickly learn that the kids who practiced those skills have the advantage as they are able to provide the highest bids for the more popular prizes. It’s another way to really show them the value of money in a semi-real world setting,” Roush said.

Both older and younger campers did a great job this year. Campers showed how much they learned every day with banking trivia and other activities. Camper Molly Fisher has taken the OVB Boot Camp class many times and said that she always learns something new.

“In OVB Boot Camp I learned about investing in the stock market, money market accounts, certificate of deposits and much more. The valuable knowledge I have gained in this class will help me with my future endeavors. This class was very beneficial to me,” she added.

Camper Lyndsey Ward, like Fisher, is another camper who has participated in OVB Boot Camp multiple times. As this was Ward’s first time in older camp, she said she was able to learn even more money management skills.

“I also learned about credit and debit cards. This is my favorite class and I learned the most here,” she added.

Camper Riley Oliver described OVB Boot Camp as a good place to learn the importance of budgeting.

“I learned how to control my money. I learned how to work with banks on loans and other things. I also learned about how interest works with credit cards,” he said.

Camper Kate Henderson agreed that learning about budgeting was important.

“In OVB Boot Camp I learned how to manage my money. I learned the different types of accounts you can have and the rewards and consequences of each. I also learned how to write a check and how to do deposit and withdrawal slips,” she said.

Camper Aiden Wallis said the budgeting game was fun because it made him appreciate his parents.

“I had to think about what my parents spend and pay each month,” he said. “I also learned how to save money and how you need to pay for insurance.”

Credit vs. Debit was an interesting lesson for Camper Cara Russell.

“I’ve learned a lot in OVB Boot Camp. One thing I learned was the difference between debit and credit cards. I also learned some of the downfalls you can encounter with a credit card. This class was really fun and I’m ready to come back again next year,” Russell said.

OVB Boot Camp was created in 2005. To schedule OVB Boot Camp or for more information on the bank’s other financial education programs, contact Roush at 740-578-3452 or e-mail hdroush@ovbc.com.

1