AU-finance 4/11/96

Bob Lowry (


AUBURN -- A unit of the Auburn University College of Business will help sponsor a personal finance seminar on April 21 for the predominantly black Rising Star Baptist Church in the Lee County community of Marvyn.

"The basic purpose is to increase their knowledge of consumer finance matters, whether it's buying insurance, financing an automobile or planning for their retirement," says Charles Edmonds III of Auburn, a retired AU finance professor who will conduct the seminar.

The program is being supported by the Center for Management and Executive Development in the AU College of Business, with additional sponsorship from Auburn Bank.

Edmonds said the program was originally developed as a tool to assist banks in taking a more active role in minority interests as part of the federal Community Reinvestment Act.

"Traditionally, data has shown that minorities -- blacks and women -- pay more for items, get charged higher interest rates," he says. "The person who gets treated best when it comes to wheeling and dealing is generally the white male. They (minorities) have the greatest overall need."

Edmonds says the Rev. Homer L. Mitchell of the Rising Star Baptist Church was receptive to the idea for the 90-minute program at his church minar will begin after Sunday services and a bring-your-own picnic lunch.

"There's a definite need for this out there," says Edmonds. "I believe this group is old enough, mature enough and responsible enough to say, 'hey, let's go listen'."

Edmonds says his program will explain how many consumers often pay too much when they buy automobiles, homes or insurance even though they are dealing with legitimate companies.

"People pay too much for cars. They finance the insurance with the automobile; they pay 20 percent interest when they can get 8 percent; they put credit life insurance on four to five years in advance."

Edmonds says for his program he plans to use a recent example to illustrate how a 21-year-old paid $12,000 for an automobile that could have been purchased for only $8,000.

"If this 21-year-old had done the right thing, he would have taken the $4,000 (in savings) and invested it, and it would have almost guaranteed him a half decent retirement at age 65.

"You don't have to be smart in this world, you just have to be informed. That's what it gets down to," says Edmonds. "I'm absolutely convinced that if you listen, your life will be better."

Edmonds says three other programs will be scheduled for other mostly black churches in the area, and the programs could be taken statewide if they succeed in Lee County.

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CONTACT: Edmonds, 887-6061 or 844-3003.