TopLine Federal Credit Union offering finance workshop next month
Monday, September 11, 2017
Monitor Saint Paul (September 11, 2017) - TopLine Federal Credit Union is offering a workshop called, “Improve your Credit Score” on Wed., Oct. 18 from 6-7:3pm at the Historic Street Car Station, 1224 Lexington Pkwy. N. The workshop is free and open to members of the community over the age of 16, as well as TopLine members. A financial educator from nearby Lutheran Social Services will lead the session.
Vicki Erickson, vice president of marketing and communications and president of the TopLine Credit Union Foundation, said, ”We’re dedicated to financial literacy for all ages.”
Toward that goal, TopLine holds 12 workshops each year in the metro area for adults and many more for youth. “In addition to the workshops we plan,” Erickson explained, “we welcome opportunities to be invited out into the community. Our staff can speak to many different topics including retirement planning, college funding, understanding mortgages, and small business development. We’re also able to partner with local attorneys to help people better understand how to manage their assets, determine which estates will best suit their heirs, or to write health directives, powers of attorney, wills, and trusts.”
Erickson said, “The first question we will ask is, ‘How can we help you improve your financial situation?’” To learn more about scheduling a community presentation, email Vicki Erickson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Como branch of TopLine Federal Credit Union is located at the NE corner of Lexington Pkwy. and Front St.
We pride ourselves on being local, member-owned, and not-for-profit.” said branch manager Diane Monson. “To join, everyone deposits $5 in a shared, secure savings account. Every member of TopLine is considered an equal member, no matter how much they invest. We have five branches in the metro area, and more than 40,000 members. We manage more than $400,000,000 in assets.”
Monson explained, “The demographics of our five branches are very different; we’re located in St. Paul, Edina, Brooklyn Park, Maple Grove, and Plymouth. It’s not uncommon for a person to come into one of the branches who is in their 50’s and has never had a credit card. We have nothing to measure their credit by, even if they’ve done a great job of paying their bills and staying out of debt, but we can help anyone build a credit score.”
“A person can start with something as simple as a secure VISA card and a $500 credit limit,” Monson said. “A credit score ranges from 350-800. If your credit score is low, it may be difficult to rent an apartment. If you try to apply for a car loan, your interest rate may be higher. A credit score is perceived as a yardstick for measuring how well you manage your finances.”
Erickson added, “When I talk with students out in the community, I tell them that a credit score is kind of like a walking GPA. I think we need to do a much better job of making our young people financially literate. In the United States, there are only 17 states that require a financial literacy class to be taken in high school. Minnesota is not one of those states. What I encourage parents to do is to get their kids a low balance credit card ($300 limit), so they can practice paying their bills on time, and understand how the interest rate will impact them if they don’t. A national law was enacted in 2011 that prevents a young person from getting a credit card in their own name before their 21st birthday.”
“When we hit the 2008 recession,” Erickson continued, “a lot of people got scared and moved from credit cards to debit cards. It’s very important to understand that using a debit card does not affect your credit score positively or negatively. In other words, it does nothing for your credit score—and you have to have credit to get credit.”
Monson underscored, “When someone comes in to apply for a home mortgage, they need to show proof of three (what we call) trade lines: either a credit card, a car loan, a student loan, or another line of credit. We caution everyone to avoid minimum payments whenever possible, and to manage their spending so that they can pay off the full balance every month.”
To register for the community workshop on Oct. 18, email email@example.com. Space is limited, and refreshments will be served.
Photo right: Como branch manager Diane Monson (left) and vice president of marketing and communications Vicki Erickson(right) agreed that, “One of our core values at TopLine Credit Union is people helping people.” (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)