A Star Is Born
At just 4 years old, Ashley Mengwasser knew she was destined for the public eye. Standing inches from the television as she watched the local news broadcast, she told her mom “I’m going to do that someday.”
Now a producer at Georgia Public Broadcasting in Atlanta and a host on the series “Georgia Traveler,” Mengwasser is just as ambitious as she was at 4. She works long hours at the studio and finds she is always crunched for time. It didn’t take long for Mengwasser to realize she needed a credit card. This need got stronger every time she had to book a flight, reserve a hotel room, rent a car or eat out for work. The trouble was, Mengwasser had just graduated college and she had no credit. No one would give her a credit card. Or so she thought.
Cautious First Steps
Mengwasser turned to trusted friends and family for advice. It turned out that her friend, Nate McManus, happened to be a branch manager at Georgia’s Own Credit Union. He told Mengwasser about the secured credit card Georgia’s Own offers members who have little or no credit. By providing a small cash payment as collateral for the card, Mengwasser didn’t have to prove a credit history to be approved. Since then, Mengwasser has been building a financial identity for herself and her career has taken off.
“Georgia’s Own Credit Union was the rocket ship for the way I live my life now. I was able to do more, travel more and have lived a fuller, more adventuresome life than I would have otherwise.” Mengwasser has since bought “adult-like” things such as new furniture for her apartment and, more recently, a car. Things, she says, that she never would have been able to purchase without the credit history she built on that first secured card from her credit union.
A Lasting Relationship Built On Trust
For Mengwasser, it’s not just about the credit; it’s about the trust that credit implies. With Georgia’s Own Credit Union, she says, “I feel like there’s mutual trust. With other companies if feels like there’s shrouding; they’re automatically suspicious.” Mengwasser says she regrets opening another credit card with a big corporate credit company. “It was just easy to get once I had built up some credit.” But she felt like she never knew where she stood with that company. She never heard from them and was repeatedly denied requests to increase the limit on the card, even though she had been regularly paying the balance.
With her credit union, she says, it’s different. “They’ll call me and congratulate me on making my payments on time and tell me my limit has been increased automatically as a result. They reach out to me and show me that they have trust in me and in the way I use money. There’s a mutual trust factor that does not exist with other banks. My Georgia’s Own card is the only one I reach for now.”
With her busy schedule, Mengwasser has never actually set foot in her credit union. Like many of her peers, Mengwasser does all of her banking online but says she notices Georgia’s Own Credit Union’s presence constantly in her day-to-day life.
“Working in media, I’m always looking at the way an organization presents itself. I really value the way Georgia’s Own focuses on their image in the community. It’s transparent. It cultivates trust. I understand their image and I relate to it,” she says. “The more corporate banks are off-putting; you don’t understand the messaging and you don’t get the imagery, but you just know it’s not you.”
For example, Mengwasser loves that Georgia’s Own has an ad at Philips Arena in Atlanta. Being a huge fan of live music, seeing her credit union at her favorite concerts is a comforting reminder that Georgia’s Own “gets” her.
So what’s next on Mengwasser’s never-ending list? Making her first in-person appearance at a Georgia’s Own branch to consolidate all of her accounts at the credit union. With their guidance, Mengwasser is looking forward to achieving financial stability and managing wealth, not just debts.