Experian VP to discuss living credit smart in Greater Iowa Credit Union Lecture Nov. 1

AMES, Iowa -- The economic crisis has had everyone thinking about how to live more credit smart in tough financial times. And that's precisely what Maxine Sweet, vice president of Experian North America's Public Education organization, will discuss at Iowa State University on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

The leader of Experian's consumer education, community involvement and corporate responsibility teams, Sweet will present, "Good Debt, Bad Debt: How to Live Credit Smart," at 8 p.m. in the Memorial Union Sun Room. The lecture is part of the university's Greater Iowa Credit Union Business Lecture Series.

Sweet is a member of the board of directors of the Credit Industry Research Council, Call For Action, a national consumer help organization; and InCharge Debt Solutions, one of the nation's leading credit counseling organizations. She represents Experian in such national education programs as the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy and LifeSmarts, both of which have the goal of reaching students with critical knowledge and empowering them to live credit smart.

As editor of "Ask Experian," a financial education advice column, Sweet helps consumers understand credit reporting and how to use credit wisely. She offered credit smart tips in a recent article published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to help consumers take proactive steps to help improve their credit and make smarter financial choices:

  • Check your credit score and report so you have a benchmark for improvement.
  • While it is important to know where your credit scores fall in the range of risk for lenders, the most important things to understand are the factors in your credit report that determine that risk. Once you understand the way your credit report is affected by your financial behaviors, you will be able to take the necessary steps to improve your credit history and subsequently improve your scores.
  • Pay your bills on time.
  • If you max out your credit card or charge balances that are very close to your limit, you will increase your "balance to limit ratio," or utilization ratio. A high utilization ratio may indicate that you are tempted to charge more than you can pay and therefore, negatively affect your credit score.
  • Remember there is no overnight fix for a low credit score.

Sweet will be offering similar advice in her Iowa State presentation, which is cosponsored by the Greater Iowa Credit Union, ISU College of Business, and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by the Government of the Student Body. More information on ISU lectures is available at http://www.lectures.iastate.edu, or by calling 515-294-9935.