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Why should I participate in Get Smart About Credit?

Financial education isn’t just about credit cards, loans and paying for college. It encompasses budgeting, understanding a credit report, identity protection and more. This knowledge is critical to the success of young people, many of whom are starting their adult lives with significant student loan debt. Participation in Get Smart About Credit is an opportunity to position yourself, and your bank, as trusted partners in helping young people—and their communities—thrive.

Additionally, once registered as a participant, your bank will appear on our official list of participating banks. ABA Foundation will promote this list to media, state bank associations, policymakers and community organizations. Participating is an opportunity to highlight your commitment to your community and be recognized for your outreach efforts.

How do I get started?

If you have been raising awareness about personal finance or banking careers to young people (high school-aged through early 20s) in your community, you’ve already begun! The next step is to register your participation online. Registration to participate in Get Smart About Credit opens each January for the calendar year. It is available at no cost, and ABA membership is not required. Once you've registered your bank’s participation through your aba.com login, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to a private resource page where you can access presentation planning tools, lesson plans, social media guides and a Communication Toolkit to publicize your bank's efforts. If you’re new to Get Smart About Credit, review the Start a Financial Education Program Toolbox for an in-depth look into beginning a program.

What qualifies as Get Smart About Credit participation?

Any time a banker is bringing information into the community that covers some aspect of banking careers, budgeting, credit, identity theft, paying for college or other personal finance topic qualifies as Get Smart About Credit participation. This includes but is not limited to in person or virtual presentations, career fairs, field trips, speaking engagements and more. Additionally, the ABA Foundation is not prescriptive regarding which materials are used, and does not require use of our resources to be a participant. Banks may use their own materials, those of a third party, or a hybrid of combined resources and are still eligible to register participation.

What if I don’t feel qualified to lead a presentation?

Even if you are not giving a presentation, you can participate in Get Smart About Credit by raising personal finance and banking career awareness. The program materials provided by the ABA Foundation were developed exclusively for bankers—all to make personal finance and banking career presentations both engaging and fun. The ABA Foundation resources are great for instructors with little to no experience teaching. Each lesson promotes audience participation through discussions and hands on activities with an easy to follow, step-by-step, lesson plan. Participants now have the freedom to arrange virtual or in person presentations with free tools from the ABA Foundation.

When can I participate in Get Smart About Credit?

The short answer: any day of the year. Get Smart About Credit celebrates an annual awareness day on the third Thursday of October to focus media attention around the work banks do to elevate the importance of personal finance knowledge. Bankers are encouraged to schedule presentations and other outreach efforts on Get Smart About Credit Day, or throughout the month of October. Understanding that bankers’ and community schedules may prevent participation during that time, presentations and informational campaigns can be given at any time during the calendar year to count as program participation. No matter the day, month or season, anytime you focus your efforts on personal finance education or banking career information for young people is full participation in Get Smart About Credit.

How can I connect with my community to schedule a presentation or outreach event?

ABA Foundation believes your bank is in the best position to make local education connections. In addition to traditional classroom lessons (in person or virtual), there are a host of groups in every community that serve children and families that can be approached. This includes school-based after-care programs or social service groups like United Way, scout troops, Boys and Girls clubs and youth groups. Keep in mind, participating in Get Smart About Credit does not only mean giving presentations. Take advantage of our free Communications Toolkit and revamped resources to get new outreach ideas.

When registering, you are encouraged to opt-in to accept presentation requests through FinEdLink. This component of the program will connect you with parties in your community interested in hosting a banker-led presentation.

Where can I learn more?

ABA Foundation hosts training webinars at the beginning of the Get Smart About Credit program year. Webinars are free, though registration is required. Look for upcoming webinars to be announced through Spirit of Banking. Additionally, previously recorded webinars can be found on-demand through the Financial Education Webinar Portal.