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Financial Conversations with Fitz #93 - Conversation on Credit Repair: How to Help Yourself - 01/19/2011

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Friday  grain was wild.  Great for our Iowa farmers.  Tough on margin calls.   Did EPA really increase the allowance by 15%.....Probably won’t see much action for the pumps.  Quite an investment for the stations.   They have made it so complicated to buy and expensive for the dealers to put in new digital pumps.    Can’t blame the dealers to spend $25,000 to pump a heavily restricted product.   The  Dow is closed today for MLK day.   I am going to check out the speaker at Waldorf Convocation this morning.   An activist from the 60’s.    Sounds like ole home week.

I have commented on this in 2010 but I keep getting the question…….One comment I get a lot at my desk is “I just want to improve my credit score”.    Borrowing money if you don’t need to is not a good solution.   If you want to add something to your credit report, a small credit card if you don’t have one is probably the safest.    Don’t add more credit cards to your billfold if you have several.   You have heard me say several times…..”Whatever you do, don’t pay someone to fix your credit report”…..This was the topic of our weekly FDIC “Facts for consumers” report.   The media is loaded with phrases like:   “Credit problems?  No Problems!”, We can remove bankruptices, judgments….. etc, “We can erase your bad credit ----100% guaranteed”   LOOK OUT!!!!!!!   For  a Scam…….The company wants you to send money to pay for credit repair in advance,  The law says they can’t do that.   Why is my credit bad…..The last report we have read is that 35% of your FICO score is based on ‘Timely payments’, while 30% is based on your usage to max credit on a card.  If you are at the max, that is bad.   It takes 7 years to get collections off your report.   The same with bkpt.  The best investment is to clean it up as soon as possible.   It costs you for loans and insurance or can keep you from getting the same.

So what is a person to do…..First of all, no money….OK….You can stop in to see a bank officer at any of our three locations…..There are “free credit agencies in all of our trade areas, be it Mason City, Forest City, Algona or Spencer…..You can run your own credit report for free…..You can use your local Extension Office for referrals for credit help and budgeting…..This information does affect you whether you are getting a loan, credit card or car insurance so it is important to have it accurate.    I would highly recommend you check with us or the web site on www.ftc.gov/bcp        Best of all is to google “Credit report …FICO Questions answered…….

Remember that you should deal with people in community banks and organizations.  When you work with them, you know that you will also see them sitting with you at ball games, church or community events.  So, if in doubt give us a call.