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Get Smart About Credit 2012: Credit Education and Standout Banks

Banking, Banking News

What is Get Smart About Credit 2012?

Get Smart About Credit is a financial literacy endeavor run by the American Bankers Association (ABA).  For the entire month of October, the ABA Education Foundation is sponsoring Get Smart About Credit, a program that sends volunteer bankers out into the community to educate young adults on how to use credit wisely and safely.  These lessons include presentations on how to budget, use credit cards and build credit.

The ABA’s goals is to raise awareness that credit is important, and can impact one’s ability to get a mortgage, apartment or car ten years down the road.

Get Smart About Credit also includes a youth component: Lights, Camera, Save! This is part of the ABA Education Foundation’s Teach Children to Save program.  Between November 1st and 30th, participants between the ages of 13 and 18 can submit 90-second videos discussing saving and/or responsible spending.  Winners receive up to $3,000 for themselves and $1,500 for their school.

In 2011, the ABA had 3,300 volunteer bankers nationwide, resulting in the education of 122,000 young adults about credit.

Which Banks Have Notable Programs?

Some banks went above and beyond the requirements, offering their own financial literacy services in the spirit of the Get Smart About Credit program.

Wells Fargo (Nationwide where WF is available)

  • Free credit scores. Wells Fargo is offering free credit scores to every consumer customer.   From October 1 through November 15, Wells Fargo customers can obtain their credit scores from the bank’s branches for no fee.  This service costs upwards of $15 at other organizations, but Wells Fargo is offering it for free.
  • Educational video series.  Check out Wells Fargo’s Smarter Credit Center.
  • 60,000 volunteer hours. For the Get Smart About Credit Program, Wells Fargo set a goal of 60,000 volunteer hours from its bankers.

Community Bank (TX)

  • In-school financial literacy.  Community Bank runs in-school programs that reach more than 1,000 students per year.
  • Extensive financial literacy resources.  Community Bank uses the ABA’s Teach Children to Save and Get Smart About Credit programs, the FDIC’s Money Smart program and the Dallas Federal Reserve’s Building Wealth program.
  • Innovative theater program to teach children’s financial literacy. Community Bank developed a partnership to promote financial literacy concepts at a local children’s theater. Together the bank and the theater created brief videos, which featured money management concepts, that were shown prior to each production.

Premier West Bank (CA, OR)

  • Received “Outstanding Community Partner” Award.  The principal of a local high school gave a West Bank employee this award for teaching successful Get Smart About Credit classes at the school.  The bank has been heavily involved with the community, volunteering over 23,000 hours last year.
  • Free financial guides. Premier West Bank also has a Financial Answer Center with free and downloadable guides; topics include everything from paying for college to getting ready to retire

Vist Financial (PA)

  • Encourages parents to talk to their kids about finances. This community bank encourages parent-child dialogue about finances while it simultaneously offers financial literacy class as part of Get Smart About Credit.
  • Financial literacy classes.  Topics include vital information like protecting personal financial information, reading a credit report, and preventing overspending

BBVA Compass (Sunbelt region)

  • Global financial literacy program. BBVA Group unveiled their Global Financial Education Plan in September of 2009.  This plan calls for BBVA to implement a financial literacy program in the communities where it has a presence.
  • Money Start. BBVA Compass also partners with FDIC so that they can use the FDIC’s financial education program, Money Smart.
  • Presentations at schools. The bank also encourages employees to volunteer to deliver presentations at schools in April (Financial Education Month) and October (Credit Awareness Month).

US Bank (Nationwide where US Bank is available)

  • Credit education. US Bank’s Credit Wellness Center provides consumers with information about credit scores, including how they are calculated, what they mean, why they matter and how to improve them.

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