Collection Item Harms Recent Widow's Credit Before She Seeks Help from Credit Union

A nonmember recently entered our credit union to talk about her loan needs. She was visibly upset because her husband had passed away and she had not participated in their family finances. She had received a collection letter from a company that had done some work on their bathroom, but because her family felt the work was poorly done, her husband had refused to pay the company. Although she had an attorney work out a settlement, on her fixed income, she did not have the funds to pay the attorney. We discovered the collection item also was harming her credit. We assisted her with using her vehicle as collateral to take care of the outstanding bill, but more important, we taught her how to effectively manage her personal finances in the future. She is now on the road to financial success and has a significantly better credit score! The next time we saw her tears, they were tears of happiness.