Western Bank and ICBA Offer Tips to Establish and Maintain Good Credit

The New Year is the perfect time to establish financial wellness goals. Western Bank and the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) are reminding consumers, it’s easier to build a credit score than to repair a bad one.

Having a good credit history is key to any financial plan. Credit scores take into consideration years of past behavior, so it’s important to establish a history of responsible credit practices and build your score by maintaining good habits now—it will be worth it. Western Bank is here to help you every step of the way.

Western Bank and ICBA offer the following tips to help build and maintain good credit:

• If you are just beginning to establish your credit history, open a checking account and keep careful track of your balance.

• Use debit and credit cards for convenience and safety, but not to overspend. Missed or late payments damage your credit and hurt your credit score.

• A good mix of credit (such as a revolving credit line and an installment loan) also boosts your credit score and further shows that you can manage different types of credit.

• Demonstrate stability in the three to six months before a major purchase. Avoid opening or closing accounts or moving large amounts of money around.

• Build an emergency fund equal to at least six months of living expenses. If the unexpected happens, you will still be able to pay fixed expenses instead of falling behind.

• Alter your credit focus as you approach lifecycle stages. As you near retirement, for example, start paying down major purchases (such as a mortgage).

• Monitor your credit regularly so you can correct any errors and detect any potential signs of identity theft. Order a copy of your credit report annually from www.annualcreditreport.com.

“Maintaining good spending and saving habits early can help you retain sight of your financial goals and navigate life’s unexpected twists and turns,” said ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey. “Call on your trusted community banker as you navigate life’s major financial milestones.”