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News Release

New Jersey Department of
Banking and Insurance

Acting Commissioner Ken Kobylowski

For Immediate Release:
February 27, 2012

For Further Information:
Ed Rogan or Marshall McKnight (609) 292-5064

New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance Official
 Teaches Financial Literacy to High School Students

HIGHLAND PARK The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance stressed the importance of financial literacy and dispensed advice on money management during a presentation Thursday, February 23 at Highland Park High School. DOBI’s Patrick J. Mullen, Assistant Division Director of the Office of Consumer Finance, spoke to students about how to establish and preserve good credit, set up a budget, open checking and savings accounts and guard against identity theft.

“The pen is mightier than the sword,” Mullen told the students. “Know what you are signing before you make the written commitment - whether it is a credit card application or a new cell phone contract."

He instructed students to create and manage their own personal budgets. “Make a list of your spending and then ask where can I cut costs and save money?”

When it comes to paying their credit card bills, he told them, “Make sure you pay at least the minimum payment and if possible pay more in order to pay off your purchases faster.”

Highland Park High School Financial Literacy Event
Above, left to right: DECA advisers Traci Wilson and Angie Harper pose with Highland Park High School sophomore Oscar Lee, Provident Bank Representative Charlotte Puerari, and Patrick Mullen, Assistant Division Director of the Office of Consumer Finance at DOBI.

The Financial Literacy program is an ongoing Department initiative, done in conjunction with the banking community to educate high school students about such financial basics as creating a household budget or balancing a checkbook; how credit cards and bank accounts work; and how to avoid identity theft.

Highland Park sophomore Oscar Lee, a member of the school’s Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), developed a financial literacy campaign geared toward educating different age groups as his project for the year. DECA is a business organization that prepares high school students to become business leaders and entrepreneurs in the fields of marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Students in the program compete with other students across the state at various events and conferences.

“My goal was to make a difference in people's lives and help them avoid financial ruin,” Lee said. “Mr. Mullen played a pivotal role in my campaign to educate others about how to manage finances. He was able to effectively convey the importance of financial literacy to the audience, and for that, I would like to thank everyone who came.”

Members of Provident Bank were also on hand at the event, supporting the financial literacy initiative and answering questions from students.

Since 2006, DOBI and its partners have reached thousands of public high school students from all 21 counties with these programs.

A new financial literacy high school graduation requirement began in New Jersey last year with the 2010-2011 grade nine class. All students will take at least 2.5-credits in financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy. By graduation, students will demonstrate an understanding about how the economy works and their own role in the economy and develop the necessary skills to effectively manage personal finances.

OPRA is a state law that was enacted to give the public greater access to government records maintained by public agencies in New Jersey.
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