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Credit 411
Austin Gandee, 22, was the youngest participant in Victor Frasher’s Credit 411 seminar in understanding and improving one’s credit score at Knapp Elementary School Thursday, July 18, 2018. (c) Mark Hertzberg for

Austin Gandee, 22, is likely more financially savvy than many of his contemporaries when it comes to managing his credit.

He knows that his credit score is “really bad” because of his age. But rather than just be a victim of circumstance, he recently took steps to learn more about how credit scores are determined and how to raise his score by attending a “Credit 411” seminar at Knapp Elementary School.

Gandee, who is enrolled in an IT program at the George Bray Neighborhood YMCA, looks forward to his first internship in September. He wants to be able to rent his own apartment after beginning his career. He was easily the youngest of a half dozen people at the seminar.

The session was led by Victor Frasher, director of community engagement for Educators Credit Union, after an introduction by Nicholas Ravnikar, Family Success Coach for Focus on Community, a substance abuse prevention agency. The agency and the credit union are partnering with the Racine Public Library to do a four-month financial fitness challenge for people with concerns about credit or other financial challenges. Such people are considered possibly at risk for substance abuse.

Twenty households will be selected to participate in the mandatory four sessions this fall.
Those interested in participating in the workshop receive additional coaching support. To participate, submit an application with a written or video testimonial that outlines the goals you would like to achieve at, according to a press release from Focus on Community.

Victor Frasher, Director of Community Engagement for Educators Credit Union, leads Credit 411, a seminar in understanding and improving one’s credit score, for a half dozen community residents at Knapp Elementary School Thursday, July 18, 2018. (c) Mark Hertzberg for

Frasher discussed the inter-relationship between good credit and all phases of daily living such as getting loans, car insurance, and even being approved by landlords to rent apartments. Family bonding is a component for achieving success. He said that while larger banks want credit scores in the 700s before approving loans, Educators Credit Union looks for scores above 650, depending on what is in an applicant’s credit report. The credit union also makes loans up to $2,000 for people to rebuild their credit, he said.

Banks, landlords, and others look not only at the amount of money applicants owe, but also the age of their loans, and even whether credit cards are maxed out which would indicate that the applicant has used up all of his or her resources, he said. Frasher also said that credit reports can tell people if their identity has been stolen.

The Money Matters financial success challenge event is slated to run 6-7:45 on Sept. 13, Oct.11, Nov. 8 and Dec. 6.

Looking for a new career? Check out the employment page on Racine County Eye.