Terri Thomas is the host of Ask Terri, a series of financial empowerment videos in which Thomas will answer questions that have been submitted from community members. – Photo courtesy of Chase Bank

The Dallas Examiner

African Americans have made a significant contribution to the nation’s economy. However, the average African American lacks a significant amount of financial knowledge in economic wellness compared to the rest of the country, according to a study conducted by the National Urban League.

To help financially empower and strengthen the community, Terri Thomas, community manager at the Community Center Branch of Chase Bank in Oak Cliff, will host Ask Terri once a month. The video segment will give people of all ages the chance to submit their financial questions.

As a community manager, she has spread financial empowerment by working with nonprofit organizations, community leaders, organizations, etc. to build financial wellness in the community.

Thomas has also offered her services to individuals and families.

“So, we can talk about anything from credit to budgeting to managing debt,” she explained. “But we don’t want to leave out a pathway to homeownership. We also have something for the entrepreneurs. I have content for our babies up to 5 years old, all the way up to our senior citizens. And I provide that at our Oak Cliff Community Center location.”

Though the vlog, Thomas said she is excited about offering the same support to the general community. She added that she welcomes any financial questions. Some questions may require details, while others may offer guidance.

“If you want to know ‘What impacts my credit?” we can talk about that. You want to know ‘What are the different types of strategies for managing debt?’ We can talk about that. ‘What’s a credit score range? We can talk about that,” she explained. “But we can also talk about things as far as building a relationship with your banker, because that’s super important. And sometimes people don’t think about that. Relationships matter.”

Thomas said she realized the power of economic wellness since she was a young girl.

“I will say I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon. I loved going to Girl Scout camp when I was younger, but we didn’t have Girl Scout camp money,” she recalled. “But we did have Girl Scout cookie sales and my mother was very upfront with me. ‘If you want to go to Girl Scout camp, you need to start selling some of these cookies to lower the cost of Girl Scout camp.’ And so I was always the No. 1 cookie seller because I knew I wanted to go to horseback riding camp. And I needed to sell these cookies so that my mama didn’t have to come out of pocket a lot of money for me to be able to go.

“So I’ve always had an awareness around money. And I want to make sure that nobody is impacted by not having a budget in place – so that they can help their kids do what they want to do. They can help themselves do what they want to do.”

Ask Terri questions can be submitted by submitting a video or written question to askterri.tde@gmail.com

“What financial questions do you have? What do you want to know about?” Thomas asked, then offered enthusiastically, “Because I’m here for it and I’m here for you!”

Robyn H. Jimenez/The Dallas Examiner contributed to this report.

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