Chamber speaker reveals frightening financial snapshot


Financial wellness coach Georgia Hendricks (far right) spoke at the monthly Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Southeastern High School Ambassadors (left to right) Michaela Jones, Adriana Sanchez, Helen Alcantar, Mia Wilson, Albert Tinney, Andrea Zamora, Sarah Wortham, Morgan Hill, and sponsor Lisa Butler sit with Hendricks following her address. High school students comprise one of the key groups for her program.

Financial wellness coach Georgia Hendricks (far right) spoke at the monthly Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Southeastern High School Ambassadors (left to right) Michaela Jones, Adriana Sanchez, Helen Alcantar, Mia Wilson, Albert Tinney, Andrea Zamora, Sarah Wortham, Morgan Hill, and sponsor Lisa Butler sit with Hendricks following her address. High school students comprise one of the key groups for her program.

“I graduated the University with a double major and a perfect 4.0 in each. I had an interview with __ (name omitted here but a company within Fortune 500’s 2017 top ten percent). I thought things looked real good.

“In the interview, they addressed my debt to earnings ratio. I had finished college with a $25,000 credit card debt and no income. The debt was not for school but for ‘extra-curricular’ expenses.

“They asked me why they should think of trusting me with advising employees on finances when I didn’t even know how to manage my own. I didn’t get the job.”

So revealed Regions Bank financial wellness coach Georgia Hendricks as she spoke at last week’s monthly Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce luncheon. While Hendricks provided few details for addressing personal financial difficulties, she did introduce the program her bank has developed and noted that many other financial institutions have similar offerings.

She shared PowerPoint and handout statistics on individual Americans, revealing that 26% do not pay all their bills on time; 29% can only handle emergency expenses by using a credit card; 32% have no savings; 42% do not follow a budget, and 44% have not allocated any money for retirement. The handout warns that “financial burdens can cost employers an average of $5,000 per employee per year in lost productivity.” That cost may express itself in increased dissatisfaction, poor physical health, and increased absenteeism.

Hendricks asserted that 44% of Americans grade themselves as “C,” “D,” or “F” on financial matters. Her program, developed by her 23-year employer, provides the opportunity to change that.

She detailed some of the aspects of the seminar she leads and noted it is available to Regions and non-Regions customers. The classes identify the three major credit rating agencies, breakdown aspects of their composite algorithms, and advise how one might increase his or her credit score. She revealed that around 35% of credit reports contain errors, which can be corrected through contact with the agencies.

She and others work throughout the Regions banking area to hold seminars for school students, business employees, business clients, individuals, and others.