Due to scheduled maintenance, Online Banking, Mobile Banking, and Tellerphone systems will be intermittently unavailable on Sunday, October 24 between 12:00am and 5:00am MDT.
By Ashleigh, K-Staff
Simmons says if you can do one thing in the face of a pending financial challenge, you MUST call your financial institution as soon as you realize there is a hardship.
“Our main objective is to work with our members who are experiencing financial difficulty. We have options to help,” he said. “The sooner, the better. The earlier you let us know, the more we’ll be able to assist you.”
The biggest mistake members make is not calling before the missed payment, said Simmons. Options include payment plans, shifting due dates, as well as government and Kirtland FCU hardship programs. But some can only be implemented if the member makes contact with Kirtland FCU ahead of a missed payment. Once payments are missed, the situation becomes more complicated and costly for the member. Interest continues to accrue on loans, and late fees will accumulate.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated economic devastation has hit New Mexico families particularly hard. In March 2020, Kirtland FCU experienced a major surge in call volume from members experiencing financial hardships. The Kirtland FCU Account Resolution team has worked feverishly to aid these members and their families with a variety of relief programs.
“The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides some programs, and we (Kirtland FCU) also have special programs we’ve created to help these members in 2020,” said Simmons. “We’ve helped hundreds of members so far, and the crisis isn’t over.”
For those experiencing hardships, Kirtland FCU also offers debt and budget counseling services through Balance Pro, and Simmons’ team can also put members in contact with debt relief services if that’s what they decide is needed after speaking with the Account Resolution representatives.
If you’ve accumulated a lot of debt or are trying to work through a financial hardship, there are a few tools you can use to reduce that debt. Consider rolling high-interest rate balances over to a lower interest loan or credit card with a balance transfer. Kirtland FCU offers balance transfers with no fees and amazing rates.
Avoid turning to sky-high interest rate options such as payday loans—these may alleviate short term challenges, but with rates that can top 400%, they cause more problems in the long run.
Whatever your situation, Simmons wants to make it clear that his team has one task: to take care of members.
“Financial issues cause so much stress,” said Simmons. “We don’t want members to have to worry about losing a car or a home in addition to everything else they are dealing with. We want to bring peace of mind to our members, and we work hard to find solutions together. But we can’t help if you don’t call.
Worried about an upcoming loan payment? To reach the Account Resolutions team, call 1-800-880-5328.
And remember: the earlier you call, the more options you’ll have.