Donna Perkins refinanced

Writing sample as published in OSU Federal Credit Union’s printed and online newsletter:

Donna Perkins refinanced debt to better manage and save money

Retired, living on a fixed income, Donna Perkins was having a hard time paying down her credit card debt and car loan. After she was victimized by a phishing scam and her account information was compromised, she turned to OSU Federal. That’s when she found out how much her community credit union cared about her and her financial situation.

Donna went to OSU Federal’s Albany branch after she knew she had been phished. OSU Federal set up new accounts and automatic payments for her Chase credit card and other bills. “Auto payments work really well,” Donna says. “I like those. They help me…then I’m not late with my cards and the interest rates don’t go up.”

Chasing help, finding none

Donna explained that prior to being scammed she’d set up a recurring payment for more than the minimum for her Chase card. After the scam, in the process of updating her account numbers, she mistakenly left off two digits. Realizing her error, Donna contacted Chase to correct the mistake but they wouldn’t allow her to pay the same amount she’d been paying. Chase gave only two options: pay the whole amount owed or pay the minimum payment each month on auto pay. “It’s not that I didn’t want to pay the bill,” Donna says. “It’s just that I couldn’t pay all of it off at one time. I was trying to pay off all of my bills.”

OSU Federal refinancing to the rescue

Donna was upset. Chase’s response was not helpful and added to an already stressful situation. She went back to OSU Federal where Stacey Keys, a Financial Services Consultant at the Albany branch, was more than willing to call Chase and try to help. After talking with several people and spending an hour on the phone, Stacey and Donna concluded that Donna should pay off the card right away. Stacey set up a signature loan to pay off the balance. The new OSU Federal loan had a lower interest rate than the Chase card. Donna was able to make the same monthly payments she had been paying previously, but with a shorter term and no credit card attached to it. “By the time I left OSU Federal, I felt a lot better because Stacey, my Hopalong Cassidy, rode in on her horse.”

The Chase is on…again

Donna was happy that her Chase credit card was paid off. “I hoped never to talk to Chase again in my life.” But after the payoff, Chase was supposed to send a statement with the final interest charges. They didn’t. The next thing Donna knew, she received a late fee notice. Donna went back to Stacey and she called Chase. “Chase reversed the late fee and paid it off,” Donna says. “They wouldn’t have done that for me. I didn’t have any idea anybody would care about my money problems. OSU Federal did. I was pleasantly surprised and grateful.”

Solutions: Free online banking, checking

Donna keeps a closer eye on her accounts after signing up for online banking, a money management tool OSU Federal provides for free. “It makes things a lot easier to make sure I’m living within my means.” She also has a new place for her debit card. “I put my debit card in my checkbook and I make a definite effort to write my transactions down in the checkbook register.”

Turning to OSU Federal for refinancing and help with money management has worked out well for Donna. “At this point in my life I’ll stay at OSU Federal. I won’t go anywhere else. I’ve been very lucky in coming here.”