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Payson banker provides financial expertise to students

Nov 03, 2015 08:26AM

By Britnee Johnston

Students at Payson Junior High School received a special lesson on credit score, identity theft and student debt from Kepi Heimuli of Zions Bank as part of the national Get Smart About Credit Day.

Heimuli taught the lesson to seventh-graders in Jim Howell’s classroom on Oct. 28. The Get Smart About Credit lesson plan focused on three major financial components that teens should be aware of when they leave high school:

1. Paying for college: Student loans have increased by 84 percent from 2008 to 2015, reaching $1.2 trillion in debt. This is the only type of consumer debt that isn’t decreasing, according to a study from Experian. To help reduce this number, some experts recommend that the total amount of student debt should not exceed the borrower’s anticipated annual salary for the first year out of school.

2. Understanding credit score: A good credit score is important for making large purchases down the road. To maintain a good credit score, consumers should make payments on time, pay off as much as they can and borrow below the maximum.

3. Preventing identity theft: In 2014, fraudsters stole $16 billion from 12.7 million U.S. consumers, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. To help avoid losing money to fraudsters and ruining their credit score, teens should review bills and bank statements often and only enter their personal information on secure websites.

“When it comes to financial literacy, studies report that teens in the United States rank below half of their peers in other developed countries,” said Heimuli, field service tech at Zions Bank. “As part of Zions Bank, I want to improve awareness in my community by teaching teens in Payson how to make sound financial decisions when they’re on their own.”

Click for more information on the national Get Smart About Credit Day.