NBT Bank News


How Much Do We Really Know About Credit? Five Tips To Help You Get Smart About Credit

NORWICH, N.Y. (October 15, 2012) – Do you have a credit card? Have you taken out a loan? The majority of us have, but too many people end up overwhelmed with debt because they don’t fully understand credit and how to use it wisely. NBT Bank hopes to change that by helping you grow your money skills earlier through Strive, its youth and young adult financial education program.

October 18 is Get Smart About Credit Day, initiated by the American Banker’s Association Education Foundation (ABAEF) to help young adults understand credit cards, budgeting, their credit reports and identity protection. NBT Bank is actively involved with the ABAEF in helping kids, teens and young adults understand credit and other areas of financial literacy.

“NBT Bank has developed resources specifically to help parents, educators, and employers take an active role in supporting our area's youth on their journey to building credit and financial independence,” says Martin Dietrich, President and CEO of NBT Bank. “As a part of our Strive program efforts, NBT Bank offers comprehensive financial literacy curriculum available to local school districts and colleges for classroom-based education.”

Many people underestimate the value of good credit until they are in a situation where they need it, like buying a home or car, obtaining a good job, and even signing up for various utility services. So, it’s never too early to establish a good credit history.

To better understand how credit works, NBT Bank offers the following five tips from the American Bankers Association Education Foundation and Strive with NBT Bank:

1. Borrow within the means of your wallet and your knowledge. Only borrow what you know you can afford to pay back and make sure you fully understand the products or services you are using and their requirements.
2. Fulfill your obligations. Be aware of all the terms and conditions and be sure to meet all requirements – they are not optional.

3. Make your payments on time. Be sure to process all of your payments within the timeframes specified to remain in good credit standing and to avoid penalties and fees.
4. It is very easy to fall into debt. You might be considered too big of a risk to credit lenders if too much debt accrues on your credit report. Develop a budget plan and use credit carefully to help you stay away from a bad debt situation.

5. Closing credit cards does not always fix the problem. Closing your credit card can actually hurt your credit. So before deciding to do this, be sure to find out how it affects your credit report.

Test your knowledge of credit with the Get Smart About Credit quiz made available by NBT Bank and the ABAEF.

For more information about credit, loans, setting short- and long-term goals and developing a budget plan, visit www.nbtbank.com/Strive or call your local NBT Bank office today.

NBT Bank offers personal banking, asset management and business services through a network of 137 banking locations in five states. NBT Bank operates from 97 locations in upstate New York, northwestern Vermont and western Massachusetts. NBT’s Pennstar Bank division operates from 35 locations in northeastern Pennsylvania, and its Hampshire First Bank division operates from five locations in southern New Hampshire. NBT Bank and its parent company, NBT  Bancorp Inc., are headquartered in Norwich, N.Y. NBT Bancorp Inc. had assets of $6.0 billion as of June 30, 2012.