Better Business Bureau Military Line has reached more people locally and nationally in 2012 than ever before since the program started in 2004, according to Shelley Polansky, education and outreach manager for BBB Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming.
The local BBB Foundation served 423 service members in 2012 compared to five in 2011. Nationally, BBB Military Line’s outreach increased to 71,066 in 2012 from 14,092 in 2011.
Polansky attributes the jump in numbers to relationship building. In 2012 BBB Foundation teamed up with instructors at the Airman & Family Readiness Center at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne to provide financial readiness training as part of the First Term Airman Center Program.
BBB Foundation staff provides training on basic budgeting, identity theft and top scams that target service members. “Our aim is to give new airmen basic information to get them started in a positive director with their finances,” she said. “If they are financially ready, they are mission ready.
In addition, BBB Foundation provides information on BBB services, including how to check out companies before doing business with them, at Warren AFB’s monthly Right Start Information Fair for newly transferred airmen.
BBB Military Line’s importance is evident in a 2010 Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation survey that found one in four military service members reported having more than $10,000 in credit card debt. The same study identified that 33 percent of service members reported difficulties in covering monthly expenses and paying bills.
Start With Trust. For more information about BBB Military Line, visit wynco.bbb.org, or contact Polansky at 970-488-2037.