In The Press

VSECU Helps in Economic Turmoil

If you are presently experiencing or anticipate experiencing a financial hardship that will impact your ability to pay bills or make loan payments, please give us a call at 802/800 371-5162.

Over the years we have tried to be the preferred source of financial services for Vermonters and their families. We attempt to do so by building and maintaining a relationship with our members that is founded on trust, long-term commitment and active participation in our cooperative. To reach that goal, we have pledged to treat each member with honesty and mutual respect while honoring our responsibility to the membership as a whole.

Currently, we are in the midst of tough economic times. The local, national and international economies are struggling. Many of our members are faced with loss of overtime, cutback of work hours, salary reduction and even unemployment. During these difficult economic times VSECU will apply our cooperative principles to try to help our members who have been adversely affected by the economy and are struggling to meet their obligations. We will work with our financially troubled borrowers to help them keep their cars and stay in their homes.

While working with individual borrowers, we must also be mindful of our responsibility to the VSECU membership as a whole. Consequently, any loan modification must have a reasonable chance of success. It is critical that the modification effort have the full cooperation of the borrowers. We may need updated financial information and credit reports. We may need additional collateral. We will be as creative and flexible as we can reasonably be. Unfortunately, there will be situations where a loan modification just will not work.

1. What can VSECU do to help me during difficult financial times?

We invite you to sit down with us to review your overall financial situation. We can look at your current assets and liabilities to see if any modification can be made with your existing VSECU accounts. If appropriate, we may offer some suggestions to decrease or restructure some of your expenses and ways to stretch your existing income. We do this on a daily basis for members who allow us to work with them.

2. Won’t VSECU make decisions that will benefit the Credit Union versus me and my family?

We are a member-owned, financial cooperative whose primary reason for being is for service, not for profit. We have always tried to make decisions that will keep the focus on your long-term benefit without jeopardizing the membership’s interest as a whole. While we may not always be able to grant every request, our focus is still you.

3. I know VSECU has tried to reach me concerning a delinquent account, and I can’t pay now. I’m afraid to call back, what should I do?

Putting your financial troubles on the “back burner” is never a good idea. If you have concerns about keeping up on your bills with VSECU, and even other financial institutions, we encourage you to contact us and share your concerns. With a clear idea of your financial picture, we are better suited to accommodate your situation. Please contact us by phone or make an appointment to meet with us in person to discuss your situation.

4. I think I need to defer one payment. What should I do?

We understand that deferring one monthly payment can benefit a member in certain situations. We will take written requests to defer a payment. We will only modify a loan when it appears to be a permanent, reasonable solution. A written request should include specifics about what caused the hardship and provide us with current contact information. A request to defer a payment is much more likely to be approved if the loan is current at the time of the request.

5. Can I lower my mortgage payment(s) with you?

There may be opportunities to refinance a mortgage. Until we sit with you to look at your current situation, such as income and assets, we will not know how we can best help. We are going to look at every opportunity that we can to assist you.

6. Will you report any late payments to the Credit Bureaus?

Our number one priority is to work with you to maintain or IMPROVE your credit score. It is important to be proactive and work with us to try to find solutions for you financially. We are obligated to report accurate information to the Credit Bureaus by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

7. Will you repossess my vehicle if I can’t make payments?

A vehicle repossession is a “lose-lose” situation. We do everything we can to keep you in your car. We are able to be most flexible with members who communicate proactively, and are able to adhere to agreed upon payment arrangements. Members are always given prior notification by mail, and a 10 day opportunity to pay the loan current to avoid repossession.

8. What happens if I never repay my loan?

If a debt goes unpaid, we may place the account with an attorney, small claims court, or a collections agency. These alternatives can further damage ones credit; the debt will never “disappear” as some might think. But first we will always give members the opportunity to make arrangements directly with us.