Since 2012, 258 Warm Springs community members have taken WSCAT’s financial empowerment courses, including 221 who have taken Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families. 162 have graduated from these courses. Our courses help participants develop good savings habits, manage money wisely, open a bank account, and gain a better understanding of credit, setting themselves up for financial success.
The Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families course, which occurs quarterly, was developed by the First Nations Development Institute and First Nations Oweesta Corporation. Financial Skills for Families is open to all Warm Springs community members, and is required for people participating in our individual development account program. The course is divided into the following six 2-hour long sessions, which usually occur on Thursday nights from 5:30 – 7:30 in the WSCAT Conference Room:
- Session 1: Building a Healthy Economy – topics include Circle of Life, Strengthening the Local Economy, Plugging the Leaking Economy
- Session 2: Developing a Spending Plan – topics include Building on a Solid Foundation, Money in Native Culture, Creating Savings, Savings Goals, Developing a Spending Plan, Steps to Success, and Tips for Managing Your Spending
- Session 3: Working with Checking and Savings Accounts – topics include Resource and Money Management, Bank Account Features, Opening and Managing an Account, Balancing a Checkbook, Debit Cards, and Online Banking.
- Session 4: Understanding Credit and Your Credit Report – topics include the Importance of Credit, Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Credit, Types of Credit, and Reading and Accessing Your Credit Report
- Session 5: Accessing Credit, Part 1 – topics include Credit Systems, Applying for a Loan, Completing a Loan Application, Evaluating a Loan Application, Credit Interview, Credit Scoring, Credit Denials, and Understanding the FICO Score
- Session 6: Accessing Credit, Part 2 – topics include Financial Systems Before European Contact, Types of Financial Institutions, Loan Rate, Terms, and Fees, Payment Factor Table, Calculating Monthly Payments on New Loans, Predatory Lending, Identity Theft, and Insurance.
Money Smart Computer-Based Instruction
Because the WSCAT conference room is relatively small, we usually limit attendance in the Financial Skills for Families course to the first 12 individuals signing up each quarter. For IDA program participants who work or are otherwise unavailable during course hours, we also accept Money Smart – A Financial Education Program Computer-Based Instruction as a means of meeting the program’s financial education requirement. Created by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), this course, which comes in DVD format, features game-based learning design and separate learning tracks for adults and young adults. The adult learning track features the 11 modules and the young adult learning track (for those age 13 and older) features 8 modules. For more information on this course, please see the following link: https://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/moneysmart/adult.html
WSCAT will provide anyone interested in taking this course with a free Money Smart DVD.
We provide credit counseling to help community members develop strategies to actively improve credit scores or establish credit. Our credit counselors provide direct one-on-one financial and credit counseling for community members. In partnership with clients, we develop credit action plans for each; provide credit building and credit repair counseling; work with clients to assist them in understanding their credit reports and developing strategies to improve their credit scores and creditworthiness; and negotiate with creditors for debt reduction and repayment agreements. If clients have no credit, for example they are a youth with no credit history, credit counselors will work with them to understand credit and build credit wisely.