By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian
This week, designated as West Virginia Saves Week, is a chance for consumers to focus on taking steps to reach their financial goals.
The annual West Virginia Saves Week started Monday and will run through Saturday. It is part of the nationally promoted America Saves Week, which is overseen by the Consumer Federation of America.
Across the state and country, banks and organizations are involved in efforts to urge people to save their income and put money into savings accounts.
Lisa Werner, assistant vice president of WesBanco, is the co-founder of the West Virginia Saves program.
She explained that the Pittsburgh branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland introduced her to the idea of an organization that concentrates on everyone in the community promoting ways to build personal wealth. At some point, everyone makes choices they wish they could change financially or has a tough time making ends meet, she said.
Werner, who is based in Wheeling, wanted to start an initiative in her area, and 13 individuals in the community joined her to form Wheeling Saves in 2006. The organization expanded to become Ohio Valley Saves, and then transformed into a statewide campaign.
“The program is to encourage people to save,” said Jim Boniey, chief operating officer of community service programs for Change Inc., which is the fiscal agent responsible for the West Virginia Saves initiative.
Change Inc., headquartered in Weirton, is a community action agency and is a member of both the state and national Community Action Partnership associations. Its mission is to work with low- to moderate-income individuals and to fight property, and West Virginia Saves directly correlates with those objectives, Boniey said.