Eagle-eyed viewers of the news will have spotted that banking giant Chase has opened a community banking scheme on 55 West 125th Street. Designed to be a better way of banking that benefits both parties equally, the branch if part of a wider trend geared towards helping Americans be better with their money. As banks seek to improve their image through enabling financial literacy, now is a good time to assess your skills and look at how you might improve.
Looking at your situation
The run-up to 2008’s banking crisis, and the period of liberalization after 2012, led to many Americans becoming heavily in debt. According to Patch, that equates to 1 in 5 New Yorkers experiencing ‘serious’ long-term debt. Actively managing this and understanding how credit works is crucial to finding a path out. Assessing debt in this way is a key part of financial literacy, and training discipline when it comes to credit usage. Common tools involve moving older balances through balance transfer and personal loans.
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As financial lessons become bedded in, it’s absolutely crucial that parents, teachers and community leaders pass them on to children. According to one study by Campbellsville University, passing these lessons on is crucial both to future financial well-being and to improving job prospects in future life. Role models should seek to ‘close the loop’ of financial illiteracy and poverty by providing lessons early.
Lessons do not start in adulthood, and they don’t stop after childhood. To be a truly effective measure of financial health, learning needs to be a lifetime endeavor according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. How can this be achieved?
Fortunately, the city of Harlem is well set to cater to this. The John Hope Bryant center, Rotary Club of Harlem and Harlem Pride all provide lessons to people of all age ranges. Combined with the effect of community banking and the effect of financial technology, people across society will benefit.
Financial literacy is a key tool in avoiding poverty and becoming self-sufficient. In Harlem where personal debt is high, this lesson is especially important. To the benefit of the wider community, big banks are taking an ethical step in the right direction to match the good work being done by community services.