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UofM students may have the chance to establish their credit for the future

Operation Hope

First Bank of Memphis uses Operation Hope to help students learn ways to fix their finances while attending college.

Nicole McGaha, the financial well-being coach of Operation Hope, said it is important for people to not only achieve good grades but also understand the basics of saving money.

“Most students will need to establish credit history for the future,†McGaha said. “Students need credit to build a credit score so obtaining credit in college is the best and easiest way to do so…. Students need to learn how to manage their funds while in college or even high school to be successful in their professional career and future adulthood. How students manage their money in college will likely remain with them throughout their adulthood. Learning to be frugal is one of the best money management pieces to master.â€

For some students, focusing on their academics and restoring money into their bank account can be difficult. McGaha said he believes starting the process of saving in high school along with building credit can benefit those successfully as an adult. She also explains other ways to prepare those seeking for financial advice.

“We prepare students to be future home buyers, making other large purchases like a car or getting a future business loan,†McGaha said. “We want students and adults who attend our workshops to gain literacy and feel empowered about managing their money and credit ... We want each person to sign up to complete our Credit and Money Management program, where I will establish a budget and savings plan and review their credit with them to increase or establish their score.â€

Credit and Money Management is a program created to assist people working to disrupt poverty and empower inclusion for and moderate-income youth and adults. McGaha collaborated with First Bank of Memphis to improve financial resources for college students. The seminar provides a one-on-one learning environment to teach the purpose of establishing their credit and saving their funds.

Business management and finance major Erwin Purnell said he discovered the program through a Black History Month event.

“There was an event during Black History Month titled ‘The Color of Money.’ It was a screening for a new film by Andrew Young,†Purnell said. “Following the screening, CEO & Founder of Operation HOPE, John Hope Bryant spoke to the audience of faculty/staff about improving finances and credit history... Afterwards, I met with a couple of financial advisors/coaches and began the enrollment process of the financial wellness program.â€

The founder of Operation Hope John Hope Bryant along with other financial coaches a holds events on campus to invite those searching for guidance in budgeting their expenses. Purnell participated in the seminar by learnings ways to save and build credit as a college student.

“My experience was very comfortable,†Purnell said. “I thought at first that it would be a bit nerve wrecking and frustrating discussing my finances with another person. However, considering this a field that I will be going into, I looked at it as an opportunity to gain experience from the receiving end.â€

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