A pair of officials with a local credit union say you should think very carefully before declaring bankruptcy.

First Education Federal Credit Union President Jim Yates says a bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for at least seven years, and even longer in some cases. He says that could severely hamper your ability to get a loan for a new home, new car, or in some cases even rent an apartment. He says higher insurance rates are another potential side-effect of declaring bankruptcy.

First Education Vice-President Ann Lucas echoes those sentiments, adding even if you are able to get credit your interest rate will be much higher than it otherwise would have been. She says a bankruptcy, for example, would probably eliminate any chance of getting a credit card that charges only ten percent interest.

Yates says bankruptcy should only be used as an absolute last resort, because the long-term effects are often far beyond what people expect.