tv Sen. Tim Scott Discusses Financial Inclusion CSPAN November 23, 2021 2:22am-2:36am EST
, axios executive editor, whitaker moore. our first guess is senator tim scott. you are on the finance and small business and entrepreneurship committees. senator scott, welcome to axios. sen. scott: thank you for having me. good to see you again. mike: working on the idea of financial literacy, pulling it out, promoting it. mike: -- sen. scott: as a kid raised in poverty, the issue of financial literacy is something i wish i would have understood earlier in life. it was my 20's before i started understanding and appreciating that what you look like on paper might be more important than what you look like in person, so
financial literacy has so much to do with your future success and present opportunities, and having not learned those lessons early in life, i wanted to make sure that part of my focus is on making sure americans today, no matter their income, have access to financial literacy and, frankly, the more you find yourself in a marginalized community, the more important financial literacy is. mike: there's a lot of conversation about financial inclusion. what can the u.s. government do or should do to promote financial inclusion? sen. scott: the opportunity to focus on financial inclusion is something we have done legislatively. i think there are remedies that level the playing field without reversing discrimination in any way, shape or form. we focus on financial inclusion. veterans often find themselves at a disadvantage when it comes
to loans and access to credit. we think about those who today are creditworthy but credit invisible. we want to make sure that more of your information finds itself into the credit scoring agencies hands so that you have access, if you are creditworthy, to more products, because you have earned it. we want to help those who are credit where they have more access to opportunity. financial inclusion is about those who should have access to lower interest rates and better terms get that opportunity without any question. sen. scott: you have -- mike: you have lived this as someone who grew up with a single parent and also started your own business. sen. scott: there's no doubt. had it not been for financial literacy in my early 30's, i would not have been able to start that business.
i remember walking into a bank and asking for the manager to believe in my dream, my vision, look at my work that i have done in the insurance business, give me a chance to own my own agency. one of his first questions was what is your credit score? i started talking about a lot of things because -- he said, what are your assets? i said, a nine-year-old car with 253,000 miles on it. he was, like, seriously, dude? that's not an asset. he did not say those words because -- words but i think that is what he meant. he walked me through the importance of being creditworthy. my credit score was decent. didn't have the assets, but he helped me understand the importance, and i also had a couple people who also injected into that situation hope and investment in my business. the bank came back to the table
then. it is important to have healthy relationships and a healthy relationship with the financial institution so your dreams have a better chance of becoming true. mike: you recently did something that's rarely done in washington. you got 50 members of your own party to sign a bill, something rarely seen. sen. scott: yes. working on behalf of everyday people, you think about the three letters you never went to senior mailbox, it is the irs, and having more letters delivered to our mailboxes because of the new reporting requirements from the irs to your financial institutions. i wanted to preemptively make that an impossibility, getting 60 republicans on in about 24 hours and talking to a few colleagues on the others who were able to get part of this taxing and spending bill out of
it. it also sends a negative message to 7 million on banked -- million unbanked americans that being involved with financial institutions in this country makes you more likely to be audited, a scary proposition that would reduce reliance on our banking system, so opposing that with all my republican colleagues and a couple colleagues on the others. -- on the others. -- on the other side. mike: you mentioned unbanked people. when you go home, that is a big issue in south carolina. sen. scott: the percentage of south carolinians who are un banked is about 17%. one out of every five south carolinians have no good
relationship or no relationship with financial institutions. they could be dangerous and it also means they are not able to avail themselves to the entire portfolio that might be available at their financial institution so we want to encourage the credit invisible or those who are unbanked to become a part of the system so their kids get to benefit from the opportunities afforded to people who have that relationship. during the pandemic, we saw that having a relationship with your financial institution, especially as a small business, was important to getting your ppp loan approved and forgiven in record time. mike: and, senator, i think there's a lot of people, including maybe some of our guests today, who don't realize that there are americans who are basically excluded from the global financial system, but that is something you are very familiar with. sen. scott: i am.
i have lived that reality of being outside financial systems for probably half my life almost. the older you get, the harder it is to say that, of course, but for the millions of americans around our country who need more help, need more resources, need more access to loans and opportunities, it is imperative upon us in the positions that we hold to make it easier for those who are creditworthy to get the credit they need. you think about homeownership and the disparities between the races. one of the ways we bridge that gap is not by extending loans to people who cannot afford it, but helping those who can be part of the system and those who have been paying their rent on time, electric bill on time, their cell phone bill in time, that information should be scored by the credit scoring agencies. and when that happens, you have
more people who have the beauty of experiencing the american dream, building equity in their largest asset, their home, and closing the wealth gap. that erases a lot of the ills of society in and of itself, so we will continue to work hard on the topic. mike: senator, i have to ask on behalf of our audience, a very practical question. if i want to improve my credit standing, if i am a young person wanting to enter the workforce or a young entrepreneur, what is one of the biggest, clearest, simplest things that i can do to make myself more credit visible? sen. scott: one thing you can do to make yourself more credit visible is get a copy of your credit report. one of the things i started with when i was a youngster is i got a copy of my fica score so i would understand what is being reported, is it accurate and how can i change it? an important step is knowing where you are. the second step is then
evaluating your need for credit. if you have high credit limits, $500 or $50,000, the closer you are to your credit limit, the worse your score will be. the more open accounts you have with lots of credit access, it can also have a negative impact on your credit score, and of course, pay your bills on time, including your student loans, because sometimes you think your loans are grants and they are not, so they need to be paid, so just making sure you are disciplined, on that 30 day cycle, as much as humanly possible. sometimes you have the end of the month and not enough money and that can make it hard. mike: that is good, senator. and you have a little expression i think that would be encouraging to people watching the sand learning from this --
people watching this and learning from this. as we were micing up, i said it is a great time to be a republican. you said -- sen. scott:sen. scott: it is a better time -- sen. scott: it is a better time to be an american. i am more interested in being a happy warrior and they get things done, so that is my goal. i care more about the american people than partisan politics. mike: and, senator, i liked when you said it is always a good time to be yourself. sen. scott: yeah. i said happy warrior, but yeah. that is important. as we end, it is always a good time to be yourself. it is always a good time to just be comfortable in your skin. doing so gets -- so allows you
to sincerely and authentically fight for the things you believe in, and frankly, the more comfortable you are in your own skin, the more likely you are to lift up others who are not like you, because if you are comfortable, you know you are flawed as well, so having the chance to have honest conversations in public for them will make our democracy stronger in my perspective. mike: