Community Dividend

Community Affairs Officer's note - Issue 2, 1999

Community Affairs Officer's note - Issue 2, 1999

JoAnne Lewellen | Community Affairs Officer

Published July 1, 1999  | July 1999 issue

How many credit card solicitations have you received in the past month? If it seems like a new offer arrives almost every day, you are not alone. The stack of solicitations in your mailbox is just one sign that credit is much more widely available today than in the past. While this expansion has allowed many more people into the credit market, it has also resulted in some negative consequences. Personal bankruptcy rates are rising, and an increasing number of people are unable to manage their personal finances.

You might wonder why it matters to a community if some families have financial problems. The cover article in this issue explains how personal financial management can affect an entire community by limiting homeownership and business formation opportunities. It describes several programs underway in the Ninth District, including an innovative effort of the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, to address these concerns through education and financial counseling.

The second article provides valuable information on credit card solicitations. It explains the differences between "pre-approved" and "prequalified" offers, describes common charges and fees, and provides ways to compare credit solicitations.

In the third feature article, we shift our focus to success stories in the Ninth District. The Northeast Entrepreneur Fund and the Montana MicroBusiness Finance Program were recently honored for their work in microenterprise development. By helping entrepreneurs start and expand small businesses, these organizations are improving the financial health of families and communities in Minnesota and Montana.

We hope that you can use the information and ideas presented in this issue to improve the financial literacy and economic opportunities of people in your community.