From Financial Struggles to Success: One Man’s Credit Turnaround Story

At one point, Shane Lay was jumping from job to job and had accumulated debt that he couldn’t keep up with – from multiple phone companies, vehicle repossession, and more. He kept putting the debts off to pay other bills, simply not having enough money to pay for everything. That changed when he finally landed a good-paying, stable job. Lay was ready for a fresh start – to fix his credit and get out of debt.

Lay decided to open an account with New Dimensions Federal Credit Union (Taconnet Credit Union at the time). He had heard credit unions work more closely with members on loans and building credit, making them the best choice in his area. Lay knew his credit score was poor and set up an appointment to meet with our loan officer, Dani Farmer, to review his credit report and develop a plan. Lay had saved up some money and was eager to tackle the small debts first. The vehicle repossession of $10,000 would take more time.

Lay stated, “Meeting with Dani at New Dimensions was a turning point for me. I knew my credit score needed work, and I was finally ready to take control of my finances. Dani took the time to review my credit report with me and come up with a step-by-step plan. Her advice to start small by paying off a couple of collections accounts first really boosted my confidence. It gave me the momentum to begin chipping away at larger debts. With Dani’s guidance and my own determination, I was able to improve my credit score and get back on track financially. I’m grateful for the customized assistance she provided.”

Farmer immediately set Lay up with a $500 FICO-Fit Loan to initiate the credit rebuilding process. She also approved a $1,000 line of credit, which was later increased to $2,000 as Lay’s score improved. At the meeting, Farmer gave Lay a listing of all creditors and contact info. Lay called each one to pay off the smallest balances first, saving nearly $1,000 by offering to settle debts immediately.

Within a year, Lay had saved enough to pay the repossession finally. But he realized that while it would remove the negative mark, it wouldn’t actively rebuild his credit. So, Lay again met with Farmer, who suggested an installment loan – similar to a secured loan but without collateral. Paying off the repossession monthly would help further build Lay’s credit. However, Lay had not accounted for $3,500 in fees added to the repossession payoff, so Farmer agreed to approve a personal loan to cover the remainder.

Farmer stated, “I was pleased to work with Shane as he took steps to improve his financial situation. After analyzing his credit and finances, I provided guidance on paying debts and building savings. Shane diligently followed the plan we outlined together. His hard work paid off, and he achieved his goals. Stories like Shane’s are so rewarding. I’m proud of his progress and happy to hear he’s sharing his knowledge to help others achieve financial health.

In just over a year, Lay had eliminated his negative accounts, set up two low-payment loans to actively build credit, completed his FICO-Fit Loan, established a line of credit to demonstrate financial trust, and raised his score from the 400s to the 700s. Since then, Lay has financed a newer vehicle and snowmobile – purchases that seemed out of reach before. He has seen his credit score peak into the higher tiers!

Lay credits Dani for guiding him through the credit-rebuilding process with ease. And he has paid it forward, using his experience to help his friends and family improve their credit scores, too. Shane Lay’s story is one of perseverance and utilization of credit union resources for a true financial turnaround.