Establish Good Credit to Secure Your Financial Future

M&F Bank and ICBA Offer Tips to Develop and Maintain Good Credit

M&F Bank and the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) are encouraging customers to take stock of their finances and establish and maintain good credit habits to create a pathway to financial health and prosperity in the New Year.

“Good credit is essential to building a strong financial foundation, so it’s important to create and maintain responsible credit practices that showcase sound money management,” said Travis Rouse, Chief Sales & Lending Officer  at M&F Bank. “Think of a budget as a monthly cash flow that helps manage your spending and savings behavior. M&F Bank is here to help you maintain the right balance to achieve your goals and avoid financial pitfalls.”

M&F Bank and ICBA offer the following tips to help consumers build and maintain good credit.

• Open a checking account with an FDIC-insured financial institution, such as a community bank, and keep careful track of your balance to help establish a credit history.

• Use debit and credit cards for convenience and safety, but not to overspend. Missed or late payments damage your credit and hurt your credit score.

• Develop a good mix of credit (such as a revolving credit line and an installment loan) to boost your credit score and demonstrate that you can manage different types of credit.

• Show stability in the three to six months before a major purchase. Avoid opening or closing accounts or moving large amounts of money around.

• Build an emergency fund equal to at least six months of living expenses. If the unexpected happens, you will still be able to pay fixed expenses instead of falling behind.

• Alter your credit focus as you approach different stages in your life. As you near retirement, for example, start paying down major purchases, such as a mortgage.

• Monitor your credit regularly so you can correct any errors and detect any potential signs of identity theft. Order a copy of your credit report annually from www.annualcreditreport.com.

“By establishing good spending and saving habits early in your credit journey you can better prepare for the unexpected, while minimizing the long-term impact of temporary financial hardships,” said ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey. “Call on your trusted community banker as you navigate life’s major financial milestones and plan for your future.”

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