Good Credit is Key to a Solid Financial Future

ICBA Offers Tips to Help Consumers Maintain a Good Credit Record

Washington, D.C. (Nov. 14, 2007) The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) urges consumers to practice smart saving and spending habits to help establish good credit and serve as the foundation for a more secure financial future. Having good credit is essential to qualify for a mortgage to buy your first home, to obtain financing to help pay for large purchases or to finance the purchase of a car.

"Having credit can help you achieve your financial goals and a good credit history is key to any financial plan," said James P. Ghiglieri, Jr., ICBA chairman and president of Alpha Financial Group, Inc., Toluca, Ill. "Establishing good credit involves demonstrating stability: staying in a job for a while, living at the same address, having your name on utility bills and paying them and all your bills on time. All are important to establishing good credit history."

ICBA offers consumers tips on how to establish and maintain a good credit history:

  • Develop and follow a budget.
  • Open a savings account and contribute to it regularly.
  • Open a checking account.
  • Put your name on utility bills and pay them on time.
  • Have your phone number listing in your name.
  • Pay all your bills on time.
  • Obtain a credit card, use it for small purchases, and pay it off within a month or two.
  • Build an emergency fund equal to at least three-to-six months of living expenses so that if the unexpected happens, you can still pay fixed expenses.

"The key to building good credit is to stick to your budget and to practice good saving and spending habits so you build a track record of regular payments and savings," said Ghiglieri. "A great resource to help you get started on the road to establishing good credit is to develop a relationship with your local community bank. Many community banks offer programs within their communities to help consumers understand how to manage their finances. Community banking is a relationship business. We work with our customers every day and throughout their lifetimes to provide financial services. We are common sense lenders."

Learn more about establishing good credit as well as other topics in financial literacy at