Comerica’s Irvin Ashford gives hard-nosed facts about restoring credit

Irvin Ashford Jr., senior vice president and national director of financial education of Comerica Bank. (Photo via Everfi)

Comerica Bank was honored at the third annual Financial Capability Innovation Awards presented by the nation’s leading technology innovator, EverFi Inc. Presented at Nasdaq Marketsite in New York City, the award recognizes Comerica’s significant efforts to improve the financial capability of Americans through unique digital learning initiatives.

Honorees were selected based on a set of criteria that included the scale and reach of their financial education initiatives, the duration of their commitment, and unique employee volunteering activities that supplement their programs.

“We’re honored to again be recognized for our financial education programming, which combines EverFi’s digital platform and active participation by our Comerica colleagues,” says Ashford. “Helping educate our youth on the basics of financial stewardship is one of the most important things we can do in the communities of the markets we serve. We’re pleased to see the growth and success of the Comerica “Money $ense” program, and we look forward to continuing this partnership to equip students with the gift of knowledge.”

Read more from Ashford about financial literacy and restoring credit.

How can parents best teach their children about finance? Is there some technology or app you can recommend?
Parents can do several things to teach their children about finances:
• Expose children to the “bill-paying process,” this might include showing kids how to pay bills online.
• Discuss the difference between a want and a need.
• Encourage kids to start a small micro business and preach entrepreneurship. Kids need to know that making is just as important learning about making.

There are several online apps that can be used to track finances. I recommend going to your respective app store and selecting a version that works best for your financial situation.

At what age should children start to save money?
Children should save and invest as soon as they breathe their first breath. I kid a little, but the sooner kids learn to save and invest, the better. The compounding of interest is a great financial principle that all children (and adults) should learn as soon as possible.

What are two methods to encourage multicultural young professionals to consider a career in finance? Are there special programs or resource groups?
I would recommend simply walking into a local banking center and speaking to a staff member or manager. Most bankers, especially Comerica employees, seek to raise the expectations of what a bank can be. This includes explaining banking products and potential banking careers. The second step would be to review online profiles of banks to determine which areas of banking and finances spark your interest.

What should people know about repairing credit?
People should know that repairing credit is a process. There are no quick fixes for what may have taken years to destroy. However, there are several local nonprofits that are available to assist with the repair process.

What are the biggest myths about credit?
There are many myths. When I was young, I use to think that only people of color had credit challenges (bad credit). I now know all segments of the population experience credit challenges. I think since the financial crisis we have all learned that credit issues are universally experienced by all.

Why are you passionate about financial literacy?
Because knowledge is power, and power is life-changing. I want to help as many people as possible avoid unnecessary financial setbacks. I want positive feelings associated with banks and I want to help people reach their financial dreams. In short, I want to raise the expectations of what a bank can be. At Comerica, we do this each and every day.

What two books do you recommend people read to gain financial literacy?
Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles
Unfair Advantage by Robert Kiyosaki

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