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l e a d i n g

a d v o c a t e

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t h e

b a n k i n g

i n d u s t r y

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k a n s a s

14

W

HEN THE GALLUP ORGANIZATION

released its annual Economy and Personal

Finance Poll earlier this year, the results

confirmed a growing year-to-year concern

for young adults: how to pay for college

tuition or pay off college loans.

More than one in five adults aged 18 to 29 identified these

college costs as the biggest financial challenge their families

were dealing with. Among the other issues young adults cited

were: lack of money/low wages (15 percent); housing costs (14

percent); and bills/credit cards/debt (10 percent).

The good news is that these are personal financial management

issues that are in the wheelhouse of ABA’s Get Smart About

Credit program. Now in its 12th year, Get Smart About Credit

brings volunteer bankers like you together with young people

to help them develop responsible credit habits.

Our industry’s financial education efforts are much needed.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation

and Development, more than 40 percent of U.S. students –

more than in any other country – reported receiving financial

education in their classrooms from private-sector individuals,

such as bankers or other volunteers.

On Get Smart About Credit Day – Oct. 16 – and throughout

the fall, bankers will be doing just that. They’ll be delivering

lessons to teens and young adults on managing three financial

challenges: paying for college; building good credit habits; and

protecting their identity.

These life lessons are designed to give young adults an edge in

mastering personal finance and taking control of their financial

futures. For example, we’re encouraging them to:

• Take control and responsibility over their finances by

creating budgets and sticking to them, including planning

for unexpected expenses such as car repairs.

• Understand the responsibilities and benefits of credit.

• Utilize their bank and valuable services, such as check-

cashing, debit cards, online banking, balance alerts,

personal loans and direct deposit, as well as asking for help

and advice from parents or their banker.

Paying for college and managing college loan debt are

significant concerns. So, too, are meeting housing costs and

managing personal debt, and these are all linked. Bankers can

fill a need – and groom a new generation of bank customers

– by providing wise counsel on these personal financial

management issues.

If your bank hasn’t participated in any young adult financial

education program before, please consider doing so this

year. The need seems to grow every year. So, too, must our

industry’s response.

E-mail Frank Keating at

keating@aba.com

© 2014 American Bankers Association. All rights reserved. Reprinted with

permission.

A GROWING NEED

By Frank Keating, President and CEO

American Bankers Association