When Ibrahim Bah came to the Business Center for New Americans in July, 2008 to enroll in its Individual Development Account Program for Refugees, he knew that he would be learning about basic financial management. The refugee from Sierra Leone also learned the importance of maintaining good credit. What he and his Loan Officer soon learned, though, was that Bah already had a credit score on file—and thanks to a series of fraudulent charges totaling more than $70,000, it was not a good number. They challenged the debts, uncovering the source of the problem (a previous housemate with a very similar name), and soon cleared Bah’s name and good credit.
In the fall of 2008, Bah bought a secondhand car with his IDA savings and match of $4,000, plus a loan of $2,000 from the Business Center’s Loan Fund, and opened Apple Car Service in Brooklyn, NY. He has also maintained his healthy credit score, and was recently approved for a second loan of $3,000 from the Business Center to renew the insurance for his cab service.
For more information visit the Individual Development Accounts Program page.