CREDIT IN THE WORKPLACE
Boston Builds Credit has a partnership with Working Credit NFP, a national non-profit that brings credit building services to U.S. workers, at the workplace, and in the form of an employee benefit. BBC brought Working Credit’s benefit, Make Credit Work for You, to the attention of two Boston-based health care institutions, Boston Medical Center and South End Community Health Center, and both since adopted the benefit, offering it to all of their employees.
WORKING CREDIT'S MODEL:
Make Credit Work for You starts with a short workshop on how the credit system works, after which employees can sign up for 18 months of one-on-one credit building assistance. That process starts with an in-person meeting, at the workplace, where the counselor reviews the credit report and FICO score with the employee, and then develops a Credit Action Plan with detailed steps the employee can take to build and sustain a strong credit score.
Among employees receiving one-on-one assistance, 67% improved their FICO credits after six months in the benefit. More importantly, Working Credit documented a 24% increase in the number of participants with prime scores (660+), which means they can access better rental housing, qualify for a mortgage, and secure financial products – such as car loans, credit cards and car insurance – at competitive rates.
The story of Amy Mason (name changed to maintain confidentiality), a Working Credit client, illustrates the impact credit building can have. Amy, a pharmacy tech, is a veteran who was stationed in Afghanistan when she became the victim of identity theft. For years, she worked to rectify her credit, but it continuously fluctuated within the 500 to low 600 range. Amy lives with her parents, and faces a new journey ahead as she takes care of her father with Parkinson’s and her son with autism. Her ultimate goal is to buy a new home, but with a credit score of 578 she knew she wouldn’t qualify for an affordable mortgage, so she signed up for Working Credit’s 18-month benefit.
At the first appointment, Amy spoke with Credit Building Counselor, Niki Volz, who worked with her to create a Credit Action Plan with specific steps Amy could take to rebuild her score and buy a home. Following the Plan, Amy disputed incorrect information directly with TransUnion, got caught up on past due payments on a credit card she didn’t realize she had, and made on time payments on all of her credit accounts. Additionally, Amy reduced her credit utilization ratio on her credit cards from 87% to 13%. As a result, Amy’s credit score increased from a 578 to a 658 after just six months in the benefit. Amy now feels like her goal of home ownership is closer than ever. She wants to continue to build up her credit score in order to qualify for the best possible mortgage, and, thanks to her Working Credit Counselor, Amy knows how to do that.
Are you an employer in Boston who would be interested in bringing Working Credit to your organization? Please contact us to learn more.