Steve Tolliver provided some financial advice for Harlan County High School students recently as he visited two life skills classes.
“Most people are not good managers,” said Tolliver, the market president of the Harlan branches of Monticello Banking Company. “Set your bar higher than the average person.”
Tolliver talked to students as part of the classes’ study of personal finances, one of 12 sections of the course during the trimester. Students also spent several days learning about writing checks and balancing checkbooks while also studying the history of banking in the United States.
Technology, according to Tolliver, has been the biggest change in the industry during his banking career. He talked about how slow computers operated when he first started working in banks after graduating from college and the difference today.
He also discussed many other changes, including the move toward mergers in recent years. Tolliver was the president of The Bank of Harlan until its recent merger with Monticello Banking Company. He noted how difficult it was for smaller banks to operate due to an increase in regulations on the industry and pointed out that it was easier to run banks with 200 employees, as his company has now, than with approximately 30 employees that comprised the staff before the merger.
Tolliver also explained to students how credit ratings worked, noting that their credit history is pictured in their rating put together by three reporting agencies. He said a rating of 450 to 600 was weak and a rating of 640 to 680 was average. He said those with a credit rating of over 750 received the best rates. Students were told that if they paid their bills on time and didn’t overdraw their account their rating would be good.
Banking careers were also discussed as Tolliver and commercial banker Garry Henson, who also works with Monticello Banking offices in Harlan, told students that a strong math and business background were needed by those interesting in going into banking.
John Henson is the advisor for Bear Tracks, the electronic school newspaper for Harlan County High School.