(KHNL) - The U.S. Federal Reserve reports much of America's 2.4 trillion dollars in consumer debt is due to poor financial management. During financial literacy month, one bank's mission is to teach young people how to manage their money. Welcome American Savings Bank Senior Vice President of Retail Sales and Service, David Hudson.
ANGELA KEEN: What is this all about?
DAVID HUDSON: Actually "Careers in Banking" is a program that we have in the bank for the last two years and we offer it across the state of Hawaii to students from elementary, middle and high school ages and really, it teaches students about how banks work, how the Federal Reserve system works, it talks about budgeting and managing your money and more importantly, how to manage your credit and as well as the importance of saving and investing.
ANGELA: What are some of the biggest mistakes that we make that land us into trouble with issues like this?
DAVID: I think especially for young people, it's credit card debt. It's very tempting. There's lots of offers out there. It's very easy to acquire and get and credit card is a great tool. It's very convenient. It's a way we can buy things and get things. But it's all about managing that and making sure that you got income coming in to pay that debt and managing your credit rating because without a good credit rating, it not only impacts your ability to buy a car or rent an apartment. Employees today are also looking at credit when you're looking at employment and finally, if you want to buy a home, you got to have a good credit rating.
ANGELA: Those credit card companies, I remember when I was in college, they came on campus and recruit and say "hey here's your card" and it's an easy sell.
DAVID: Yes, and part of our "Careers in Banking" program is about teaching students how to manage credit. It's just like anything else. You got to learn how to manage it well, how much money you can spend, how much money is coming in and having a plan for paying it off.
ANGELA: Tell us about your free workshops.
DAVID: We actually have free workshops that help people learn how to buy a home and we got a couple of workshops coming up later this month. It's a homebuyer seminar that teaches people how to buy a home. In Hawaii, I think it's part of everyone's dream and we're there trying to help them learn how to achieve that dream.
ANGELA: The other one is protecting yourself from identity theft, it's a big one.
DAVID: Yes, that has been a very hot topic for the last few years and our bank offers customers information to help to protect their identity because I think the first thing is prevention and what can you do as an individual and it's creating awareness in our customers. There's just so many different ways that customers can be tricked, particularly our senior citizens. They seem to be the ones that are targeted by these kinds of scam. So we offer education tools to prevent it but we also have for all of our checking account customers, we're the only bank in Hawaii that offers this, is the identity theft recovery program that's free for every checking account customer. And finally for people who are really concern about it, we offer a very affordable identity theft insurance so this really tells you how evolved this has become. So there are insurance program for people who do have the unfortunate experience of having their identity stolen.