Jeff Judy

Jeff's Thoughts - August 22 , 2007

Educating the Rest . . .

The subprime lending market meltdown, sending shockwaves through the economy, offers a stunning reminder that developing smarter customers is in everyone's long term interests. And there's no better place for customers to learn about sensible credit behavior than from their loan officers.

The ABA Education Foundation has announced October 18 as "Get Smart About Credit Day", a great idea. They offer ready-made resources to help you educate your customers about credit.

But why stop there? What do you plan to do to educate your customers the other 364 days of the year? And this event is focused on teens and young adults, but don't overlook other customers in need of credit education.

For example, it isn't unusual for a couple to be, say, in their 40s when they take out their first home equity loan or line of credit. Sure, they've had credit cards and a few car loans along the way, but do they know how home equity products work? Are they nodding to your brief explanations and questions because they understand them? Or are they just too embarrassed to admit, at their age, that they don't know what you are talking about?

Don't leave credit education to special events or preprinted pamphlets. As you interact with your customers, try to assess what they really know, and learn where you can help them develop a deeper understanding around the decisions you are asking them to make. Don't assume they know how things work, just because they have had experience with other credit products in the past.

It takes a little more effort, but in the end, it gives you a competitive edge:

I encourage you to use "Get Smart About Credit Day" to boost awareness of this need. I urge you, even more strongly, to make credit education a part of every customer interaction -- a win-win strategy that you'll find in place at the best performers in your market.