At Centinel Bank, we are dedicated to giving you the knowledge and skills needed to own your economic success, plan for your future, and make smart economic choices. We feel that investing in your financial knowledge leads to financial success, and this is key in building a strong community.
Teaching our customers and their children, as well as our Taos County communities about how to maintain a bank account, balance a checkbook and calculate interest, or save for college, establish good credit, buy a home, plan for retirement and recognize the need for an emergency fund are some of the topics covered through our education/financial literacy initiatives at Centinel Bank.
Our objective with our financial education efforts is to strengthen financial literacy for individuals and businesses in all populations and through all stages of life in our community– youth, teens, adults, and seniors.
Community Workshops & Presentations
As active community members, we are happy to conduct workshops, presentations, or one-on-one meetings in the community on financial literacy related topics. We invite community organizations and individuals to contact us, if you interested in having us lead such a session or workshop.
Financial Education, Tools, & Resources:
Focus to Improve Your Financial Situation, 5 Ways How
Pay yourself first. Start saving, form a savings habit. Each pay period, before you spend money, commit to putting money in a savings account. Many banks, including Centinel Bank, will help you automatically transfer from your paycheck or your checking account to savings every month. Make sure you keep your savings in an insured bank account.
Track your savings and investments, and monitor what you own. People who keep track of their savings often end up saving more, because it’s top of mind.
Build up emergency savings for unexpected events. Three months is what is recommended.
Consult with a qualified professional on investments and other key financial matters.
Invest in your future. Don’t forget to save for retirement, education needs or trainings, and other major items.
Keep your financial records in order. Look at your bank statements and bills as soon as they arrive and report any discrepancy or suspicious activity. A good system for keeping personal money records will include copies of important documents like your will, property ownership, information about savings and insurance, and other documents.
Protect your identity. Watch out for fraud and scams. If it “sounds too good to be true” you can probably assume it is, and it is probably fraud, especially if it comes from a stranger or an unfamiliar company.
Be wary of requests to “update” or “confirm” personal information, especially your Social Security number, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, personal identification numbers, date of birth or your mother’s maiden name in response to an unsolicited call, letter or email. Centinel Bank takes the security of customer information very seriously. We rarely request to update or confirm personal information on your account, but there may be rare instances where we might need to, if we do as a verification method you can always request to call the bank back at a known phone number for your protection.
Understand interest. Borrowing money is a way to purchase something now and pay for it over time. You usually pay “interest” when you borrow money. The longer you take to pay back the money borrowed, the more you will pay in interest. Pay more than the minimum due each month and pay less in interest over the life of the loan.
Pay bills on time. This will help increase your credit score. Even if you fell into trouble with borrowing in the past, you can rebuild your credit history by making regular payments as agreed.
Learn about credit and how to use it effectively. Pay attention to your credit history, as reflected by your credit score and on your credit report. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus. Go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com for a free report.
5 C's of credit to help determine your creditworthiness
Thinking of applying for a loan? Do you know what your bank will look at to determine your creditworthiness? Lenders look at your 5 c's.
- Credit History/Character
- Collateral (when applying for secured loans)
To read more about the 5 C's of credit click here.
If you have questions and/or are thinking of applying for a loan, call us @ 575-758-6700 and ask to speak to one of our lenders.
Tips for Establishing and Maintaining Good Credit
Good Credit is Key to Solid Financial Future from Centinel Bank of Taos and ICBA
When establishing financial fitness goals, Centinel Bank of Taos and The Independent Community Bankers of America want to remind customers: 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.
Click here to read tips that can help you build and maintain good credit.
What does it mean to bank local?
Where you choose to bank matters. Did you know, not all banks are the same? While they do provide many similar services, there also many differences. Centinel Bank of Taos is a community bank, locally owned and operated, serving Taos County since 1969. Along with traditional banking services, Centinel Bank offers many community banking benefits.
This April, in celebration of Community Banking Month, we encourage everyone to consider what it means to bank locally. Banking local helps sustain our community today, tomorrow and for generations to come. Click here to read more.