Money Savvy Stories

Jaime Roger

Town & Country Helped Me in More Ways than One

Meet Jaime.

Jaime is a life-long Mainer. She was born and raised in Portland and today lives in Scarborough with her three kids. Divorced for 10 years, this single mom’s life is centered on her children. The family loves spending time together just having fun. Roller skating, camping, going to the beach, jumping off bridges (into water), and simply enjoying outdoor life in Maine.

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.

Life hasn’t always been so light and happy for Jamie and her family. A few years ago, she found herself in a tough relationship that was holding her down and holding her back in life. She was unemployed, falling behind on her bills and unhappy.

Help with more than just a loan.

A Town & Country member for more than 20 years, Jaime visited the branch in Scarborough and got to know Whitney and Maria on the staff. They knew Jaime had fallen behind on her car loan and Visa credit card payments and wanted to help her get back on track. Whitney and Maria both moved on to jobs in the Town & Country Collections Department and reached out to Jaime to see how the credit union could help. “They were such good listeners and let me talk about my problems. They really understood my situation and had such big hearts,” said Jaime.

Getting back on my feet.

Jaime wanted to get back on her feet and felt Whitney and Maria could help her do that. Because Jaime was now working full-time at a local daycare center and equity in her car, the credit union was able to refinance both her auto loan and Visa credit card bill into one loan with a lower, more affordable monthly payment. She’s now able to afford her other expenses and set aside some savings.

Grateful.

Today, Jaime is living within her means and working hard to stay on top of her bills, plus socking away some money in savings. Whitney and Maria were so impressed with Jaime’s hard work and progress, they surprised her with a set of four Sea Dogs tickets for her to enjoy some family time at a game. “I was so surprised and touched when we got the tickets,” said Jaime. “It made me feel good that they saw my hard work to manage my debt and get on track with my money,” she said.

Big dreams.

Jaime’s next big dream is to become a homeowner. “I am excited because my dad and I are planning on buying a house for my family as soon as we can. I am going to be working on improving my credit and saving my money that when the right house comes along, I’m ready.”

What would you tell others about your experience with Town & Country?

Town & County is more than just a good bank/credit union. They really helped me overcome my financial challenges. It made me work harder knowing that Whitney and Maria had my back and were willing to help me help myself. I have been a Town & Country member for a long time and will always be with Town & Country. The people are amazing. They helped me get back on my feel. I will always be grateful for what they did. 

We recently helped a member pay off her credit card debt with a consolidation loan in order to increase her credit score. Her ultimate goal was to refinance several pieces of real estate she owned.

By Hetal Patel, Manager of the Northgate branch in Portland

Marie is a busy single mother of two and a healthcare professional who currently has practices in two states. She is also a savvy real estate investor owning several investment properties in another state that she has rehabbed and now rents, as well as her home in a popular Portland suburb.

A few months ago, Marie was referred to Town & Country by her mother, who is a member of the credit union. Before coming to Town & Country, Marie had spent the better part of two years trying to secure new conventional financing for her investment properties with several large banks and mortgage companies to take advantage of lower interest rates. In each instance, she was told her credit score was too low and that she had too much credit card debt. As a result, she did not qualify for refinancing which would have provided her with a more favorable interest rate, saving her a considerable amount of money each month.

Beyond the point of frustration, Marie met with Hetal to discuss her situation and to see if Town & Country might be able to find a solution for her so she could obtain the conventional financing she needed to relieve the financial pressure from her investment properties. Hetal was able to work with Marie to consolidate and pay off more than $90,000 of credit card debt that had accumulated because of the investment properties into one Flex Loan. As a result, Marie's credit score went up more than 60 points in just one month, making her eligible to refinance most of the high interest private investment loans on her properties to conventional loans with much lower interest rates. She will be able to save thousands of dollars each year with the new financing.

Marie was so grateful and excited that Town & Country took the time to listen to her story and to understand her personal situation. She appreciated the fact that the credit union didn't make its decisions solely based on her credit score and that Hetal was willing to work with her to reach her long term goals and give her the financing she needed to improve her financial situation. Marie has moved all her business from her current large bank to the credit union and we look forward to creating a lifelong relationship with her. 

How the Savvy Money tool can help with data breach concerns

By Esther Birkinbine, TCFCU Card Specialist

I spoke to a member shortly after Anthem announced that they had had a security breach. Our member was concerned about identity theft. I advised that she could sign up for Savvy Money so that she could track her credit. Because Savvy Money updates every month she would be able to check to see if any new credit lines had been opened that she had not initiated. She already visits our website to access online banking regularly, so that makes it that much more convenient for her to use. She said that this gave her great peace of mind knowing that she could easily access her credit report.

How SavvyMoney has made a difference in my life!

By Becky Harrigan

I have always been a perpetual budgeter. Every week I would rework my finances to allow me to pay my bills, fill my gas tank, and get my Dunkins or Triple Berry Oat Smoothie from Tropical Smoothie. I thought I was right on top of my finances and was overall healthy financially. When Town and Country launched Savvy Money I thought it was a great tool for our members who didn't have a good grasp of their finances. Knowing the members would come to me with questions, I thought it was as good idea to log in myself and get acquainted. First, I logged in to check my credit score. I knew I was onto my second car loan, had a few other lines of credit, and have never missed a payment so I was anticipating a relatively good score. To my surprise, it was much lower than I had anticipated. The first derogatory factor on the list was high credit card balances. But I always paid my bill on time?!

Here I am wondering: how do I fix this? I plugged into a Google search "desired credit card balances" and discovered that I have been running my credit card balances way too high; even though I paid my bill on time every month. I immediately logged into the budgeting tool in Savvy Money and began to rework my budget. In one month's time I was able to transform my budget and pay down my high credit card balances. My credit scored increased by 40 points in that month simply from using Savvy Money's budgeting tools and sticking to my budget. I highly recommend this tool to all of our members, even those "perpetual budgeters" like myself, because it allows for the opportunity for credit knowledge and growth.