MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - BankOn River Region Alabama is hosting a workshop this week to help you improve your personal banking patterns and correct any credit issues.
The workshop, called Credit Basics, is set for Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the St. Paul Lutheran Church on Atlanta Highway.
The BankOn program was formed to bring together local government, financial institutions, financial regulators, and community organizations to design safe, affordable, and convenient transaction accounted for unbanked consumers.
Research from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation shows that there are many reasons consumers lack a basic transaction account: not enough money for the minimum balance; distrust of financial institutions; high or unpredictable fees; or identification, credit or banking history problems. Many Americans are driven to use expensive alternative financial services, including check cashers, payday lenders, and pawn shops that charge high fees for financial services that fail to help people get ahead. Without a checking account, families wind up paying too much for basic financial transactions and are hard pressed to build savings and assets.
- Close to 7 percent of U.S. households (approximately 14 million adults) are unbanked without a checking or savings account.
- Almost 20 percent of U.S. households (approximately 50 million adults) are underbanked, meaning they still use some fringe financial services.
- Nearly 37 percent of unbanked and 45 percent of underbanked households earn less than $30,000 per year.
- Nationally, more than half of black households and 46 percent of Hispanic households are unbanked or underbanked, compared to less than 20 percent of white households.
- The event comes during Financial Planning month, which reminds us to keep our spending in check and prepare a budget, first for the holidays, then for the rest of the year.
Financial Planning month is meant to be a time to take a fresh look at spending habits, and make smart decisions for the future. Here are a few tips:
- Make a budget. Review the last few months of expenses and cut expenses where you can. Reduce meals out and luxury items. Memberships and drive-thru coffees add up.
- Pay bills on time. Late fees and penalties result in extra costs and harm your credit.
- Start saving. A little every month becomes a habit quickly. If your employer offers a 401k with a matching benefit, contribute to the maximum allowed. For every dollar you don’t contribute to the matching limit, you’re throwing away money.
- Sell what you don’t use anymore. If you have things collecting dust, taking up space or otherwise not being used, get rid of it. It may be worth something. Whether it’s value is in recycled metal or the eye of the beholder, it doesn’t matter.
- Can’t sell it? Donate. Qualified donations are tax deductible. Don’t forget to ask for a receipt and claim it on your tax return.
- See a financial planner. They will help you with your goals and set you on the path to success.
Credit Basics is a free event but seating is limited. Call 334.270.4133 to reserve your seat or log on to this website.