Financial Literacy Classes at the Oriana House in Cleveland

There’s nothing more fulfilling than teaching – especially when it comes to financial literacy. When the Oriana House, a Cleveland-based community corrections and chemical dependency treatment agency, reached out to First Federal Lakewood, it was an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up.

“The Oriana House in Cleveland reached out to us and asked if we were interested in hosting financial literacy classes,” said Chalana Williams, SVP, chief community development officer at First Federal Lakewood. “I accompanied Nina Salsgiver, branch manager of the Dave’s Midtown Branch, to this meeting and was able to assist in determining how we would present our financial literacy program to best fit the needs of their clients.”

The program, with class sizes averaging between 10 and 30 people, started in early 2021 and is a hit among the individuals. Salsgiver spearheads the education at the Oriana House and teaches two classes a month on a variety of topics including basic financial literacy, checking account basics, the difference between debit cards and credit cards, and needs versus wants.

“It’s a very humbling experience,” said Salsgiver. “The individuals are eager to learn and are excited about the opportunity that First Federal Lakewood gives them.”

First Federal Lakewood offers the individuals to start a relationship with a financial institution, especially when it comes to building credit. The bank’s secured credit card is one product that Salsgiver stresses in her classes – she explains how to use it and how it can build their credit to help them get back on their feet. Salsgiver noted that for many people, no one took the time to explain the basics of building credit – and that’s where First Federal Lakewood comes in.

“They always say that they’re excited that we’re here to help,” said Salsgiver. “A lot of them are so happy that we can help answer their questions. A few people came to me and said they want to start their own business and want our help. It’s all about growing that relationship because not a lot of banks answer their questions. I’m honored to have the privilege to teach these classes and life skills to these individuals.”