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Bank Teaches Teens the Importance of Good Credit

By Sally Maison
Published: Monday, November 16th, 2009

Things took very rapid turns over the past two years. With the economy and federal laws taking many changes as well, people know that a new financial reality is up ahead. First Interstate Bank, in joining the celebration of the seventh annual “Get Smart About Credit Day,” emphasized to students of Hotsprings High School how important it is to manage their finances well and to keep their credit report free from negative marks.

Bank Teaches Teens the Importance of Good Credit According to Connie Gerard, the Consumer Loan Officer for First Interstate, young adults often find themselves in the middle of an exciting new exploration as they begin to take up privileges as young consumers. But she added that those privileges come with responsibilities which could ruin the financial future of young adults if they are not wise about their credit.

Last Monday, Gerard met with two classes at Hotsprings High School to teach young students about the basics of credit. She started by asking students what a credit report is and brought an actual copy of it to explain how missing or being late on a payment could seriously impair the chances of getting good loan deals.

Gerard told students that lenders such as banks and financial institutions pull out a credit report whenever someone applies for a loan, debit, or credit card. She likewise told students that a credit report containing numerous negative items like unpaid bills and defaulted loans are considered by lenders as an instant red flag. She adds that if a consumer who repeatedly fails to meet his debt obligations is able get a credit, it will definitely come with very high interest fees.

The loan officer reminded students that it will not be easy for them apply for credit cards next year. A new federal law, which will take full effect in February 2010, will prohibit banks from marketing to students. A 2008 Student Monitor Study reveals that 34 percent of college keep at least one plastic in their wallet.

First Interstate Bank’s effort at educating young adults and teens is part of their cooperation with the American Bankers Association as they raise awareness on how important it is to have an untarnished credit report. Gerard said they are focusing on the class of senior students since they will proceed to college and technical schools after graduation. She added that some students will be forced to work after finishing high school so it is very important for them to be wise since they are on their way to starting their own credit history.

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