It’s not a secret that COVID-19 has impacted the lives of many Americans, including some of our neighbors in the Arvest Bank footprint. Some of those impacts have been financial in nature, causing challenges for a host of families and individuals.
Some have lost jobs, either temporarily or permanently. Some have had their work hours reduced. Whatever the impact, the financial climate caused by COVID-19 also has spurred many people to look for ways to improve their financial situations. Even some who have not experienced a negative financial impact have begun to look at stabilizing their financial situation, knowing that the unexpected can happen to practically anyone in such uncertain times.
That is why it may be reassuring to some to know there are many organizations whose mission it is to help those who need it to overcome financial stresses or uncertainties. One of those groups is Credit Counseling of Arkansas (CCOA) and, despite its name, it offers help to clients throughout the Arvest Bank footprint and 19 states in total.
CCOA’s “Reach to Enrich” program*, in particular, can help those looking for help on the way to a more financially secure future. One such consumer began 2020 hoping to build his savings while also eliminating some debt. After being encouraged by a co-worker to check out the “Reach to Enrich” program, the consumer found himself speaking with a CCOA counselor.
Through a discovery process, the counselor learned the consumer had taken a consolidation loan of $9,000 in an effort to eliminate his debt. Unfortunately, because his partner continued to spend freely, more than $6,000 in additional debt piled up and the two accounts’ average interest rate of 24 percent put a major crimp in the original plan.
Undeterred, the counselor worked with the consumer to develop a flexible budget and use better spending strategies to reduce expenditures, and also presented the option of a debt management plan (DMP) through CCOA. The consumer agreed and was grateful to see his average interest rate be reduced to less than 9 percent.
Over the course of three additional conversations, the counselor and consumer worked to revise the household budget, move from a budget deficit to a surplus, and develop a savings plan. The consumer’s DMP reduced his monthly payments from $811 to $526, a monthly savings of $285.
If you are interested in learning more about building a more financially stable future, CCOA may be able to help. Learn more here.