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NCUF grant funds N.M. CUs savings challenge
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (8/11/11)--Several New Mexico families who belong to credit unions now have better financial habits after participating in the 11-month-long “Savings Challenge New Mexico”--and one family earned $10,000 for its efforts.
Shawn and Tina Maria Schiller, members of High Plains FCU, Clovis, N.M., won $10,000 after reducing their debt and increasing their savings and credit score during “Savings Challenge New Mexico.” From left, front row, High Plains FCU Savings Challenge coach Tammy Lewis and Tina-Maria Schiller; back row, High Plains FCU Savings Challenge coach Kathy Allenberg, Shawn Schiller, and High Plains FCU CEO Marty Tressell. (Photo provided by National Credit Union Foundation)
The challenge provided participants with three goals: reduce debt, build savings and improve their credit score. The challenge provided each family with the skills to achieve a better financial situation. The Savings Challenge was made possible by a grant from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) to the Credit Union Association of New Mexico, which provided management, educational resources and financial support to the five New Mexico credit unions that participated. Shawn and Tina-Marie Schiller, members of High Plains FCU in Clovis, were the top winners, receiving $10,000 after meeting the three challenge goals. The couple was coached by Tammy Lewis from High Plains FCU. At the start of the challenge, Tina-Marie Schiller admitted she did a lot of unnecessary shopping with department store credit cards. Shawn Schiller said it was important for the couple to have good financial habits and save money. Although the Schillers had a good credit history and score, they were lived paycheck to paycheck and “getting nowhere,” they said before the challenge. The family’s goal was to be debt-free (aside from its mortgage) and set some money aside for its sons’ college education and medical insurance. The Schillers reduced their debt about 10%, significantly built savings and improved their credit score more than 5%. The prize money will go into a savings account for their sons’ education. A total of $22,750 was awarded to the Savings Challenge participants. Other winners in the challenge were:
* David and Denice Pratesi, Chino FCU, Silver City, N.M. With help from Chino FCU coach Bill Stites, David, a disabled veteran, and his wife, Denice, a home health care provider, reduced their debt 64.73% and won $2,500. * Athena Beshur, Guadalupe CU, Santa Fe. Coached by Diane Sandoval, Beshur--the owner of a local landscape company--eliminated her debt, built her savings more than 600% and improved her credit score, winning $2,500. * Reyes and Isabel Gonzales, Everyone’s FCU, Tucumcari. Coached by Everyone’s FCU CEO Andi Baum, the Gonzaleses won $2,500. The couple reduced debt almost by half, increased the credit score and multiplied savings by more than 900%. * Sharla Frazier, Rio Grande CU, Albuquerque. A police dispatcher and the single mother of three girls, Frazier was coached by Stephanie Szpunar. Frazier’s debt remained level but she was able to build her savings and raise her credit score, earning $2,500. * Brandi Jo Thomas, High Plains, FCU. Coached by Kathy Allenberg, Thomas reduced her debt, increased her savings by almost 500% and improved her credit score. She received $2,500. * Deeanza Duran, Guadalupe CU. Coached by Annette Hernandez, this single mother did not meet the challenge goals, but received a new awareness of the importance of healthy financial habits. She received $250 for finishing the challenge.
NCUF grants are made possible by supporters of the foundation and the Community Investment Fund (CIF), an award-winning system of investments that help credit unions earn dividends while donating to national and state community development programs.
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