“Serving Boone, DeKalb, Kane, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, and Winnebago Counties in Illinois ”
OUR MISSION The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a network of friends inspired by Gospel values, growing in holiness and building a more just world through personal relationships with and service to people in need.
i Hope Takes Action - Credit Builder Micro Loan Program
In one of my past home visits, I assisted a single woman who was being choked by a high interest loan. The interest on this loan was about 300%. She had put her car up for collateral, and, we all know what would happen if there was a default on the loan. These types of loans are referred to as 'predatory loans', where the lender preys on vulnerable individuals who have to pay rent or a car payment and have nowhere else to turn for funding. In my experience, the individuals rarely can get out of this situation. That is where the Credit Builder Micro Loan Program, designed by the Northeast District Hope Takes Action, creatively designed another option.
HTA’s micro loan program is intended for use by individuals seeking to refinance out of these obscenely high interest rate loans. It is the hope that this program will help improve financial situations and providing opportunities to rebuild credit ratings while giving a sense of dignity and accomplishment.
One such loan has recently been paid off by a friend in need from West Dundee. Here is her moving testimonial. "I was blessed when I found Maria from St Vincent de Paul at the worst darkest time in my life. My son’s father filed for divorce and left my son and I when we had to share an apartment after he lost his job and our home to foreclosure. It was before I was to start radiation treatment for my breast cancer, and he left when we received our 2nd 5 day eviction notice. Overnight I was alone and scared with no family support as I had fallout with my mom after my dad died recently. It was overwhelming to deal with all of these traumatic events in a short period of time. I panicked and took out 4 online payday loans to keep from losing our apartment. I had already tried an increase on my credit card and a personal loan from a bank and was denied. I had no saving and huge medical and legal debt. I was drowning with no clue how I was ever going to get of debt from the predatory loans as I was going negative in my bank each month not able to make the high interest payments, and rent still was due on the remaining few months on the lease. I was emotionally broken and financially broke; I reached out for help with Dundee Township who put me in touch with St Vincent de Paul. Once I met with Maria, she put me in touch with Bill from Hope Takes Action and he said I would be the first recipient of a St. Vincent de Paul backed microloan to pay off the predatory loans. I was thrilled to be part of this new concept as it truly was the only way to get out of the deep hole I was in. We went to McHenry Savings Bank and I signed the promissory note with Bill and the loan officer to pay it off in a year with automatic pymts. St. Vincent de Paul and Hope Takes Action were my lifesavers, and as they say everything comes in 3’s. Maria informed me about Fellowship Housing and I started the 3 month intake process. I wouldn’t have been accepted if it wasn’t for this microloan in place when they reviewed my financial situation. I still had one to pay on my own which was more manageable than four. I had to stay at the Community Crisis Center in Elgin for a month waiting to get into Fellowship Housing. Once accepted I started my own savings account and happy to say I have some money in there, no NSF’s (Non-Sufficient Funds) since the microloan, and paid it off one month before my year anniversary with Fellowship Housing. My credit score increased quite a bit having on time payments on the installment loan with McHenry Savings Bank to build up my credit score. My story is proof this is a great program to continue for individuals who made poor financial decision in a crisis and just needed a hand up not a hand out. I was so motivated to succeed and honored I was chosen for the beta test of the Microloan program. I was willing to put in the hard work on budgeting my money and learned a valuable life lesson never ever to take out a predatory payday loan again. My income can now go into savings, medical and legal debt instead of high interest, plus I was able to pay off my credit cards. If it wasn’t for the microloan, I would still be in the vicious circle of taking payday loans out to pay off another loan. The microloan helped me feel such relief and freedom from the heavy burden from the payday loans. It no longer consumed me and I could focus my time and energy on my son. I will never forget how important this microloan was in turning my life around toward independent financial stability as a single mom. Thank you so much Maria and Bill for making me feel worthy of your assistance and your wonderful constant support along the way to reach my goal!"
Your Servant Leader, Susan
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Rockford Council is a non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. Donations to the Council are deductible. The Council's tax identification number is 06-1640220.