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NFCC Survey Findings Suggest Military Could Be at Risk of Financial Abuse; RBFCU Doing Its Part to Help
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 6:30 AM

Military Consumer Protection Day is July 16, and this is a day set aside to bring attention to the fact that Americans should be conscious of protecting those who defend our country. According to a recent National Foundation for Credit Counseling survey of active duty military personnel, 77 percent of respondents have financial worries, and 55 percent feel not at all or only somewhat prepared to meet a financial emergency.

The survey also finds that 60 percent of respondents have had to look outside of traditional institutions and utilize alternative, non-traditional lenders to meet their financial needs.

Stressful situations can result in poor choices, with decisions often made out of desperation. To help avoid this, credit unions like Randolph-Brooks FCU offers courses on financial management to those stationed at Randolph Air Force Base and their families. These courses provided guidance on credit, goal-setting and budgeting.

“Those who complete the courses receive certificates that they can mail to the credit bureaus as a sign of their commitment to bettering their financial situation,” explains Sonya McDonald, EVP/Chief of Staff for RBFCU. “We also offer free courses on starting a business, buying a car or buying a home– all conveniently located either on or less than five miles from Randolph AFB.”

According to McDonald, the credit union recently extended their service hours to provide a 24-hour contact option for members with questions about their debit and credit cards.

“Through this avenue, our members who are stationed in different time zones, as well as those here in Texas, have the opportunity to contact the credit union as soon as they see an issue on their accounts or have a question,” adds McDonald.

RBFCU supports members of the military in other ways as well, including:

  • Hosting Military Saves celebrations, and providing encouragement and incentives to military service members and their families. During these week-long celebrations, the credit union encourages members to establish free savings accounts for emergencies and to get their children on the road to a prosperous financial future. Financial incentives are also awarded, in the form of random drawings for direct deposits to kick-start savings.
  • Providing free cash back checking, and surpassed all previous records for rewards. The rewards are returned to them so they can spend or save them and make their lives better.
  • Offering VA and FHA loans through the credit union’s new affiliate RB Mortgage LLC. These loans will help more veterans and current service members to buy homes and put down roots in their communities.

“RBFCU continues to rank among the top Patriot Express Lenders in its local district (55 counties in South Central Texas) and in the nation,” continues McDonald. “The credit union’s lending portfolio has grown to more than $250 million, including those who take advantage of Patriot Express Loans for military service members, veterans and their families.”

Additionally, McDonald points out that RBFCU’s credit card balance transfers help members to manage their finances and escape oppressive debt.

“We recently offered a 3.9 percent APR balance transfer, far below the rates typically offered by other financial institutions,” she recalls. “We had a member visit the Randolph AFB branch with more than $22,000 in credit card debt and we were able to offer a balance transfer as an option to lower her rate and pay off her debt more quickly.”