Member Impact Stories: Ascension
The work we do with credit unions allows them to make real differences in the lives of their members and communities. This could be through CDFI certification or grant funding, assisting with business plans, product design, partnership creation or any of our other many services. And as part of this work, we get to hear the wonderful member impact stories that illustrate what credit unions are doing to unlock opportunities in the communities they serve. We will be highlighting some of these stories here.
Ascension Credit Union’s Staff Trained as HEROs Save Two Members $30,000
When $86 million Ascension Credit Union in Gonzales, LA received a NCUA grant to certify its entire staff as Community Development Certified Financial Counselors through CU Strategic Planning’s HERO program, management’s intention wasn’t that they all provide in-depth counseling. The goal was to train all staff to recognize members specific financial challenges and intervene, including cross-department transfers to solve problems. What it wasn’t expecting is shortly after the training staff would save two members $30,000.
In detailing the impact of HERO training, Ascension shared a story where a MSR recognized that a member had a high interest rate on his second mortgage at another financial institution. After working with the member, Ascension was able to approve a loan to pay off the second mortgage. The member not only saved over $12,000 in interest over the life of the loan but was also able to lower their payments and shave off five-years from the original loan term. Ascension cut a second member’s interest rate by over half, saving the family over $18,000 without extending the loan term.
“These are just a few of many situations that allowed us to rescue members from high interest rates and longer terms,” shared Lux. “Our stories grow each day. The impact that we have made in our community is overwhelming.”
Ascension Credit Union hopes to help underserved members by giving them lifelong tools necessary to obtain and maintain financial freedom, become savers for short-term and long-term needs.
Ascension credited the HERO program with helping staff learn how its members can achieve savings through loans, allowing them to be able to manage their money for years to come.
Lux credited the use of HERO tools as giving members the help they need to budget their monthly income and manage their expenses to start saving for college funds, emergency savings for unforeseen crisis, and ultimately for their own retirement. “They can finally see progress in debt reduction and see their savings grow at the same time.” To learn more about HERO, visit herocounseling.org.