WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Bankers Association is encouraging bankers to participate in the fifth annual Get Smart About Credit Day, which brings banking professionals into schools to help teens learn valuable credit lessons.

The event will be held Oct. 18 throughout the country. Julie Cripe, chairman of the ABA Education Foundation, which is sponsoring the event, and president and chief executive officer of Omnibank in Houston, said she hopes bankers will participate because they are uniquely qualified to speak on the importance of using credit wisely.

"A positive payment history can help our customers achieve their dreams, while a poor credit report can close doors," she noted. "Teens want to learn about money, but they don't always know how or where to look for information. Bankers can help by bringing the lessons right to the classroom on Get Smart About Credit Day."

ABA sourced a recent Capital One survey that indicated 80 percent of teenagers believe learning about the basics of money management will benefit them in the future; however, 86 percent said they have never taken a personal finance class in school.

Last year, more than 500 community, regional and national banks visited more than 65,000 young people in places throughout the country.

"Bankers are committed to teaching credit education, but sometimes it's hard to put a lesson together, especially one that will engage teenagers," said Laura Fisher, director of the ABA Education Foundation. "With our new resource kit and bonus materials, we've simplified the preparation and the presentation."

The new Get Smart About Credit resource kit features visual materials, including interactive PDF budgeting worksheets, PowerPoint case studies that correspond with written lessons and a Flash presentation that introduces the credit subject, officials noted.

Bankers who register for GSAC Day on the ABAEF Web site will have access to bonus materials — such as sample presentations and a take-home sheet for parents — and will be recognized in ABA's Bankers News, officials said.

Bankers can learn more about Get Smart About Credit Day, including how to register and order a resource kit, at www.aba.com/consumer+connection, or by calling (800) BANKERS.

ABA members can order the resource kit for $95 and non-members can purchase it for $165. Members and non-members who order before Sept. 7 will receive a special pre-order price of $85 and $150, respectively, executives said.

Members of America's Community Bankers will receive the ABA-member price in honor of the pending merger of the two associations.

Officials said the Get Smart About Credit lessons meet more than 60 nationally recognized education standards. Materials also align with aspects of the Jump$tart Coalition's Personal Finance Standards.