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Business students prepped to share financial literacy tips with community

Published on March 13, 2024

Business students prepped to share financial literacy tips with community

Pam Days-Luketich and Dante Galvez
Pamela Days-Luketich and Dante Galvez, both from Liberty Bank, teaching a financial literacy course at Eastern

Finance students who plan to buy a house in the next few years got a primer on how to qualify for a mortgage at a course taught at Eastern Connecticut State University this semester by a Liberty Bank vice president.

They’ll use what they learned in a recent class to lead mortgage information workshops in the community later this semester. The course, “Financial Literacy and Our Community,” will also cover topics such as how to obtain credit, financial fraud and identity theft. Students will share their newly gained expertise at forums at the Willimantic Senior Center and Windham High School, among other venues.

Liberty Bank VP
Pamela Days-Luketich teaching a class on how to finance a home

The Eastern course is taught by Pamela Days-Luketich, vice president for community development at Liberty. Most of the students are finance majors. They had some basic knowledge before taking the course and “they’ve been very engaged and interested,” she said.

She has divided the class of 20-plus students into groups, with each group focusing on a topic that they will teach in the community. The course will also coach them in presentation skills and how to engage an audience.

Thomas Stone, a senior, is part of the group that will lead a community workshop on how to buy a house. “I jumped on this topic right away,” he said. He wants to buy a home in the next couple of years. He is not deterred by high mortgage interest rates and plans to refinance later, if necessary. Stone, who already has a job lined up with The Hartford, wants to eventually own several properties and be a landlord.

In a recent class, Stone said he was impressed to learn of the abundance of programs to help first-time home buyers. Dante Galvez, an affordable lending officer at Liberty, told the students about down payment and closing cost assistance and other state and city offers available to first-time buyers. Galvez told the students that it’s possible to get a mortgage three years after declaring bankruptcy. “You can always rebuild. Always ask,” he urged them.

Days-Luketich said the bank’s interest in having students teach financial literacy in the community was supported when Dean Niti Pandey asked the bank to offer a credit course at Eastern after more than 50 students came to an interest session last year. The course is designed to focus on the needs of the community and how financial education can strengthen individuals and the economy. Speakers such as the United Way’s Scott Umbel, State Rep. Anthony Nolan and James Bellano, director of economic development for Windham, have been scheduled to talk to the class.

Dante Galvez teaching
Dante Galvez from Liberty Bank teaching the finance students

The students had a good discussion with Bellano about how residents with limited assets and minimum-wage jobs face challenges paying for rent and childcare, said Days-Luketich. But while low-income earners can be good at managing their money, those with a higher income may not be, she cautioned. “Your economic success doesn’t guarantee that you’re good at managing your money.”

Besides the community events, two financial literacy sessions for Eastern students will be offered April 22 at the Student Center, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. These are a financial literacy fair, with activities and information on topics such as building credit, budgeting, identity theft and home ownership, and a small business entrepreneur workshop for students who want to learn if owning a small business is right for them.

The community events are:

  • March 25, 1 p.m., Windham Senior Center, financial fraud prevention
  • April 8, 1 p.m., Windham High School, “The importance of a college education for your financial future” (for the high school students only)
  • April 12, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Windham Heights Learning Center (90 Boston Post Road, Willimantic), parent empowerment class (in Spanish only) on home ownership
  • April 29, 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., 1 Jillson Square, home buying class
  • May 2, 9 a.m. to noon, Windham High School junior class, credit-for-life fair

Pamela Days-Luketich teaching a class on how to finance a home

"What should you consider before you buy a home?" Pamela Days-Luketich of Liberty Bank asked students in the financial literacy class.

Written by Lucinda Weiss