Bank On North Idaho: Financial education program to launch June 8

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United Way of North Idaho is teaming up with North Idaho College, banks, credit unions, local businesses, and other community organizations in an effort to bring better basic financial education to the community.

The Bank On financial literacy program, which has been available in the Treasure Valley since 2013, is expected to launch June 8 in Coeur d’Alene.

Stemming from the United Way ALICE report — a study of financial hardship in the region — a coalition was created to connect residents with safe, affordable bank accounts and quality financial education to help people keep more of what they earn, protect their money, and build relationships that will lead to a promising financial future.

“For NIC, this is part of a three-pronged approach to assisting our community with figuring out a career, earning the education to obtain that career, and managing finances to make it all happen all while still enjoying life,” said Sara Schmelzer, co-chair on the NIC Financial Education Committee. “United Way of North Idaho has laid the foundation with more than 20 regional community and financial partners to bring Bank On to North Idaho.”

Trained staff from the financial network will be offering free classes in the fall promoting financial literacy as part of the new Bank On North Idaho.

The classes will be available for community members, students, families, and anyone interested in learning how to make the best financial decisions. The classes will explore ways to reduce debt, increase credit scores, build emergency savings, reach financial goals, and increase net worth. For some, it might mean just being able to open a bank account. For others, it could be how to map out opening a business.

“Nearly 40 percent of households in North Idaho are living on a bare-minimum budget, which often excludes savings. We want to change those odds and provide ways for people to get on the path to financial independence,” said Keri Stark, director of community impact at United Way. “It’s a building block to a good quality of life.”

Classes will be advertised this fall as they are made available at www.nic.edu and www.bankonidaho.org. Information: Keri Stark, 208-667-8112, or keri@unitedwayofnorthidaho.org

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