Last week, members of the National Consumer Reporting Association’s (NCRA) Education and Compliance Committee including CIC’s Caryn Bennett converged upon New York City’s Times Square to answer basic credit questions from random individuals on the street. The ultimate objective of the project is to educate consumers and to dispel myths regarding consumer credit reports. They set out to create a basic understanding of what is and what is not included on a credit report and to emphasize the importance of positive and accurate information. A consumer who has a clear understanding of what credit is and how day to day activities have an impact, is more likely to take an active role in keeping the information positive and accurate. This creates a win-win for both consumers and credit grantors.
The project, dubbed “The Man on the Street” was aimed to educate regular, everyday people who had questions regarding their credit reports. The questions were as basic as “What is credit?” and “How do I correct errors on my credit report?” to a bit more detail such as “Who has access to my report?” and “Are there laws in place to protect me?”
“The process was simple: Times Square is a busy place and cameras and microphones tend to attract a lot of attention. Once we explained our purpose – to answer questions regarding credit—we literally had people waiting to speak with us. Understanding that we were there to educate on behalf of a nonprofit trade organization and not in an attempt to sell a product, people were interested and engage” explained Caryn Bennett, CIC’s compliance manager.
Caryn went on to say “the questions were initially answered on camera, and follow up detailed conversations were held with anyone interested. There were several interested. Wives called husbands over to join in, store employees gathered around and one passing teen even took off her headphones! People want to learn and we were eager to teach!”
Committee members, with the support of NCRA and the help of the Mortgage News Network, used these questions to create a video education series which will be made available to the general public.
The videos will be available as a series, or individually, in which CICReports.com will post on their YouTube channel and blog. NCRA hopes to distribute the series to high schools so to educate the youth, before entering the age where they will be applying for new credit. The sooner they have proper information about creating and maintaining a positive credit file, the more likely they will become responsible consumers with better overall financial stability.
The Man on the Street was a labor of love from an organization committed to consumer education.
Have you encountered a lack of credit education when interacting with applicants? Do you provide educational tools on credit to your residents currently? Let us know in the comments section below & be sure to subscribe!
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