MSCU | Financial Independence Training Program Success Stories

George Story – Credit Repair

One of the real highlights of our work as financial coaches is seeing firsthand the positive impact that financial literacy training can have on members of our community, and one recent example came with our member George. George came to us as a non-member looking to refinance an 18% APR auto loan that he was struggling to pay. After learning that he could potentially save a lot of money with a lower interest loan through the credit union, George was eager to apply but concerned about his low credit score. Alex, one of our certified counselors, assured George that even if he was declined, we could work with him through our FIT program to find a solution together.

George’s application came back as a decline due to several collection accounts on his credit report, but he took Alex’s words to heart and decided to become a member of MSCU and enroll in financial coaching. He and Alex got to work right away analyzing his credit report, researching the collection items affecting his score, and charting a plan to rebuild his credit. George came to us for a number of follow-up sessions in the months to come, his excitement and motivation visibly growing as he watched his score gradually climb and became further empowered to take control of his financial future.

After several months of coaching, collection account settlement plans, and budgeting review, George’s steadfast efforts resulted in his credit score jumping from 568 to 735 – a 167 point increase in just 9 months! Although he was originally looking to do a refinance, he instead ended up finding a new car. Armed with a much stronger credit score, George submitted a new application, and this time was approved for an auto loan with a rate of 7.99% APR. This 10% reduction from his original loan rate saved him over $4,000 in interest!

George was delighted with his new car and rate savings, and for the first time even sees the possibility of becoming a homeowner. George is still a regular member and continues to work with Alex to save for his first mortgage.


Donnalee Story – Unbanked to Banked

MSCU is partnered with St. Vincent DePaul of Waterbury (SVDP), a non-profit organization that works with members of the community to combat poverty, homelessness, hunger, and much more. SVDP has integrated our FIT program into its ServSafe certification class and allows us to empower its students with regular financial literacy workshops and follow up 1-on-1 sessions. After attending one of our FIT workshops, a graduate of the program, Donnalee, approached FIT coach Alex to inquire about an account. Alex sat down with Donnalee, and after just a few questions realized she was unbanked.

She proceeded to pull multiple tax refund checks out of her purse totaling well over $3,000. Her intent was to bring them to a check cashing store, but Alex assured her that opening an account with the credit union would save her from excessive fees. With that, Donnalee decided to open her first ever bank account after nearly 50 years of being unbanked. After learning about the power of building credit during the FIT presentation, she also wanted to establish credit and open a secured credit card.

Donnalee worked with MSCU to set up her first savings account, checking account and credit card within the week. She continues to stay in contact with Alex, and her ambition is to get her first car loan. Within one week this unbanked member became an established member of Mutual Security Credit Union. She has met with Alex multiple times since then, both in person and over the phone. With our Pathways software, MSCU is able to help Donnalee track her credit score progress through soft credit pulls and has helped to put her on the path to financial independence.


General FIT Statement

Below are some photos taken during the financial literacy workshops we’ve presented to our community partners, including St. Vincent DePaul of Waterbury, Norwalk’s Family and Children Agency, St. Joseph Parenting Center, Bridgeport Rescue Mission, and The Hispanic Coalition of Greater Waterbury. Topics have included basics of banking, unlocking the power of credit, first time homebuying, and elder abuse awareness and prevention.

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