Bank hosts free financial classes

The educational activities will be carried out by more than 200 local community groups, businesses, schools, and non-profit organizations. The classes will be offered in a variety of languages.

Money Smart Week educates consumers on money management issues and creates awareness on how to become financially fit.

During the week long event, more than 350 free sessions, seminars and activities will be offered and all Chicagoans are invited to attend. You can visit to find a calendar of classes in order to determine the best fit for you.

Two of the biggest topics covered during the week long event include foreclosures and refinancing.

Q: If you are looking to refinance your home, what are the first steps you need to take?

  • If you are staying in your home less than two years - most likely you don't want to refinance. You could lose money in the fees that can run as high as $3,500.
  • If you plan to stay in the home more than two years, find a loan that is two percent below your current rate.
  • Never add more years to your current loan.
Q: Foreclosure is the final step in losing your home and is a serious legal process, what are the steps homeowners should take to protect themselves?
  • Make sure you understand your rights. You may need an attorney to help resolve this issue. It could cost $500, but they will guide you thru this process.
  • Pay homeowners insurance even if you can't pay the house payment. It is about $80 per month, but then you are covered if there is a fire or loss.
  • Work with your lender to stay in the house and continue to pay insurance and utilities and upkeep. Also, be sure to ask your lender how they will state this on your credit report.
Q: When it is a good time to refinance and what are the signs?
  • Ask yourself: will your payment be reduced and will the new payment fit in your budget?
  • Never use more than 30 percent of your net pay for a monthly payment including taxes and insurance.
  • Make sure the fees to refinance don't negate the savings in the new loan. As mentioned before, if you would like to learn more about these two topics or other financial issues, please visit for details.
  • Coordinated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and its partner organizations, Money Smart Week is designed to educate consumers about money management as well as create awareness of financial education programs on topics such as saving, using credit wisely and financial education for youths. More than 350 free classes, seminars and activities will take place during Money Smart Week.

    To find a searchable calendar of classes closest to home or business, tailored to specific needs visit

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