Gregory Kendall, a financial services representative at MetLife, was the keynote speaker at the Financial Empowerment Seminar Wednesday in Perry Paige Auditorium.
The topic of the seminar was “Preparing for Life After Graduation.”
One segment was “The 3 R’s of Credit,” which stands for risk, reporting and repair. Kendell said credit risk is a two-way street.
“Slow payment or no payment negatively affect the lenders as well as the consumer,” said Kendell, a 1985 FAMU alumnus.
“If someone is purchasing something with credit, he or she runs the risk of not having enough money. Then credit companies also run the risk of not getting paid.”
Kendell said since bad credit ratings can jeopardize employment, car and housing options students should know how to obtain their credit reports. The three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are locations where people can receive their credit reports and find out information about financial advice.
“You should check your credit report at least once a year to make sure it is accurate and consistent,” Kendell said.
He said students can obtain a credit report by going to the bureaus’ Web site, writing a letter directly to the bureaus or calling their 1-800 numbers.
However, Kendell said students might be wary because it sometimes costs a fee to obtain a credit report.
“It costs, but it’s worth it to protect yourself,” he said.
Kendell said many people have a misconception regarding credit and often get in financial trouble. He said repairing credit is critical.
“For credit to heal itself, it takes time and you need to negotiate ways to remove bad marks from your credit report,” Kendell said.
He said there are numerous illegal credit services but students should use the Consumer Credit Counseling Services.
“The CCCS will negotiate with creditors and help you budget,” Kendell said.
Also in the segment, Kendell said in many black households, money is not a “dinner table discussion.”
“Investing, financial planning and credit are not discussed frequently enough in the black community,” Kendell said. “Minority students in college are at a huge disadvantage.”
Atia McCreary, 20, learned about the seminar through her college orientation course. McCreary said the lecture was very informative.
“The seminar was helpful because it offered basic information about finances and things that affect credit,” said the sophomore nursing student from Lakeland. “It also helped me with future decisions.”
Harold Henderson, the director of accountability in the School of General Studies, said he’s been toiling for about three months to have the seminar.
He said it was essential for students to know financial strategies.
“Poor credit can paralyze you,” said Henderson, who is also the interim director for the evening and weekend college program.
“The cost of financial failure is intolerable.”
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