If you are a frequent reader of my blog (which I’m sure you are ), I know you have heard me say before that it’s very important to all of us at Nutmeg to do the best job we can to serve our members and communities. To accomplish this, we put a lot of hard work into understanding the needs of everyone we serve. We know that every community has different needs and we strive to deliver the right service to the right people. We also understand that life can be complicated and that a person’s financial standing can be easily damaged. Whether through divorce, death, loss of a job or another life-changing event, it is easy to damage your credit or experience a loss in income.
The impact of negative banking history can potentially last for years, but I am excited to say that Nutmeg has excellent options for repairing credit and getting back on your feet. I’d like to take a few moments to talk about some of the ways Nutmeg can help families and individuals who may be struggling with damaged credit.
First I’d like to tell you about our Working Wheels Car Ownership Program, which we introduced in February. Working Wheels was designed specifically to help low-income families purchase reliable vehicles and develop good financial management skills. This program provides hardworking, credit-challenged families with a chance to gain an economic foothold. This program not only allows people to purchase vehicles and repair credit, it does so without having to resort to predatory lending options! I’m proud to say that the program has seen great success so far and we look forward to helping more families across the state with this service.
Checking accounts may also become difficult to obtain if a person has gone through a difficult financial period. Negative checking account history can prevent people from being able to open a new checking account. Access to checking accounts is essential to establishing good money management habits and avoiding expensive check-cashing facilities. To offer a solution for this, we introduced our Rebound Checking Account last month for members who are ineligible for a standard checking account. With this option, we can offer all the benefits of a checking account with safe limitations to encourage smart money management. After 12 months of good account management, members can even upgrade from this account to a standard checking account!
One of the best ways to build a healthy credit history is with regular, timely credit card payments. To help credit-challenged members, we have designed credit card options that are easy, affordable and excellent methods for reestablishing credit. Our Secured Credit Card comes with limitations to encourage smart spending and money management. This card requires the user to keep a deposit account with funds to match the card limit. This way, the funds are protected while the cardholder can enjoy the benefits of the card and repair damaged credit history through proper repayment. It even comes with the added benefit of no annual fees and a free rewards program!
We are also working hard on another credit card option that I am very excited to talk about today. Coming soon, we will be introducing our Fresh Start Credit Card for members who have been with Nutmeg for at least six months and have a checking account with direct deposit. Based on the strength of this relationship, the credit union will be able to offer a credit card with a low credit limit. This will allow members to start small and build a healthy credit score over time with regular payments. And just like our Secured Card, the Fresh Start Credit Card will also come with no annual fees and a complimentary rewards program. Stay tuned for more developments on this option.
I am extremely proud of all the work Nutmeg does to help our members and our communities. These services enable people to transform their financial lives by taking negative banking and credit history and turning it into an opportunity. If you, a friend or a loved one could benefit from any of these services, please contact us or visit our Fresh Start Services page for more information.
President & CEO