St. Louis and Springfield, MO - November 18, 2008 - Tackling the problem of financial illiteracy among Missouri teenagers head-on, Missouri State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, Chase Card Services, a division of JPMorgan Chase & Co. [NYSE: JPM], and Visa Inc. today announced the statewide rollout of an effort to improve the money management skills of high school students. Treasurer Steelman 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 Missouri.
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.
This new financial literacy campaign was kicked off today at Gateway High School in St. Louis with help from St. Louis Rams' Wide Receiver Torry Holt. Holt shared his personal experiences on the importance of money management with students and led student teams in a lively game of "Financial Football." Later in the day, Treasurer Steelman and St. Louis Rams' Kicker Josh Brown brought the game to students in Springfield at the Chase call center.
"High school kids need to know how to make smart money management decisions before heading off to college or entering the workforce," said Torry Holt. "It takes the combined efforts of parents, teachers and mentors within the community to give teenagers a strong background in personal finance."
"It doesn't matter whether you make minimum wage or millions," added Josh Brown. "If you don't learn to budget, save, invest and pay bills on time, the consequences can be devastating."
"This financial education initiative provides a winning playbook for students' financial future. This program educates while it entertains students so that they retain these valuable financial lessons," said Treasurer Steelman.
"Chase is proud to participate in this initiative," said Michael Replogle, who leads Chase Card Services' Springfield center. "We have a long history supporting education in the region. Mixing financial skills with football is clearly a winning combination in preparing kids for healthy financial futures, and we're glad to be a part of it."
Demonstrating broad-based support for having financial education begin at home and extend to the classroom, a new study released by Visa shows 91% of consumers surveyed believe all high school students should take a financial education class before graduating.
Treasurer Steelman, Chase and Visa hope "Financial Football" can help Missouri teens do just that. Available online at www.missouri.financialfootball.com, "Financial Football" puts students' fiscal knowledge to the test in an online simulation game environment by combining the structure and rules of the NFL with financial education questions of varying difficulty. To score points, a team needs to answer a series of 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.
Today's events are part of a national educational campaign with Visa, the NFL and PLAYERS INC., now in its fourth season. Since 2006, Visa has reached agreements with nineteen states, including Missouri, to distribute "Financial Football" to every high school in those states. Other participating states are West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, California, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wisconsin, Nevada, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, Kentucky, Illinois, Louisiana and Arizona.
The online version of "Financial Football" has been downloaded more than 200,000 times and in 2007, "Financial Football" became a free, first-of-its-kind cell phone game. Mobile customers can play the game on their cell phones by texting the word VISA to 24421.
"For over a decade, Visa has been committed to promoting financial literacy and we are proud to have both Torry Holt and Josh Brown with us as we assist Treasurer Steelman in her efforts to strengthen financial education efforts throughout Missouri," said Jason Alderman, director of financial education, Visa Inc.
"Financial Football" is part of Practical Money Skills for Life (www.practicalmoneyskills.com), a free, award-winning, teacher-tested and teacher-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 Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman
Sarah Steelman is the first Republican woman in Missouri history to be elected to the office of State Treasurer. Missouri's 44th State Treasurer, Steelman is responsible for the management of more than $20 billion in Missouri's annual revenue. She oversees the investment of proximately $4 billion in the state's portfolio.
About JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2 trillion and operations in more than 60 countries. The company has more than 157 million credit cards issued. Under the Chase and JPMorgan brands, the firm serves millions of consumers and businesses in the United States and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients. Information about the firm is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.
Visa Inc. operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world, and Visa/PLUS is one of the world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit usa.visa.com/about-visa/our_business.html.