Cortland Banks Employees teach local students how to manage money, stay out of financial dog house

November 12, 2010
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(Orwell, November 10, 2010) — Half of the fifth grade class at Grand Valley Middle School made big spending, saving and budgeting decisions on November 10, during special lessons taught throughout the day by employees from Cortland Banks, David Kovacs and Dannielle Slaven.

This fun competitive lesson uses a new game called FETCH!™, which stands for Financial Education Teaches Children Healthy Habits™.  FETCH! teaches children to manage money early in life so they will grow into adults who make smart financial decisions.

“Financial literacy is vital to the recovery and economic growth of the valley,” said David Kovacs a Cortland Banks Credit Analyst.  “I try to take advantage of opportunities to teach financial literacy to the young people of the valley.  The FETCH! Program is an excellent new program that I am excited to be a part of.”

FETCH! is set in a dog park where student teams manage the finances of owning a pet. With each turn, students used critical math and thinking skills to earn money for basics like a leash and collar, budget for unexpected expenses and save money for the future.

If a students’ dog is naughty, they could end up paying to fix the neighbor’s fence. If he learned a new trick or won first place in the dog show, the students got rewarded with money to put in your savings account.

“With today's economy, and things not looking so bright for our future generations, it's important for our youth to understand how to make decisions about money.  The FETCH program did just that!  And the kids had fun learning!”  said Pam Oney, Grand Valley 5th grade teacher.

The game taught the children that sometimes you must delay buying what you want right now so that you can afford what you need later. The team that ends the game with the most money in their savings account, and the most items for their pooch, wins.  

After the students completed the lesson, one student reflected back on his group’s decisions, “It was good for us to see how important it was to invest in something, like when we did not have the dog collar, and the dog catcher came and made us pay a fine.  We knew that we should have bought it when we had a chance.”  

“FETCH! is a fun way to teach children the important fundamentals of managing money,” said Sara A. Smith, Marketing Director for Cortland Banks. “It’s built on a simple concept, yet requires students to make decisions that have real consequences, just like in real life.”

The lesson couldn’t be timelier as families across America are struggling with economic issues.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 77% of U.S. families are in debt with 46.1% holding credit card debt.

“The FETCH! program provides students with resources that allow them to recognize that hard work and dedication will result in big rewards in the future.  This is one of the most important life lessons that we can teach,” said Cortland Banks Credit Analyst Dannielle Slaven.

An independent Community Bank since 1892, Cortland Banks serves Trumbull, Portage, Ashtabula, Geauga and Mahoning Counties.  Cortland Banks offers products and services similar to regional and national banks, Cortland Banks emphasizes responsive and personalized service.  The Company's "Forward-Thinking Solutions. Old-Fashioned Customer Service." theme highlights a culture where customers are known by name rather than account number, and where decisions are made by directors and managers who reside and work in the communities where the Company's headquarters and branches operate.

For additional information about Cortland Banks visit  
FETCH! was created by The Ohio Society of CPAs and its charitable affiliate, The Ohio CPA Foundation with guidance from elementary teachers and a curriculum developer. It includes a testing component to gauge if students have mastered a basic understanding of financial terms.

For more information, visit

The Ohio CPA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that funds programs encouraging Ohioans to be more fiscally responsible. It also raises awareness for CPA careers.

The Ohio Society of CPAs, established in 1908, represents more than 22,000 CPAs in business, education, government and public accounting.  The Ohio Society’s members not only meet statutory and regulatory requirements as CPAs, but also embrace the highest standards of professional and ethical performance.  This is achieved through ongoing professional education, comprehensive quality review and compliance with a strict Code of Professional Conduct.

Photograph Caption: Cortland Banks employee David Kovacs teaches 5th grade students at Grand Valley Middle School the importance of saving.

Photograph Caption:
Cortland Banks employees David Kovacs and Dannielle Slaven are all smiles with students from the 5th grade class at Grand Valley Middle School.


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