Breaking New Ground
At just 26 years old, Raymond Shuck has been working to support himself for more than 10 years. But it wasn’t until he was in his early 20s that he realized the importance of credit to building a life for himself and his young family.
Shuck’s first foray into credit-building was with a small corporate bank where he got a $1,000 loan, put it in a savings account and paid it back. “It cost me $25,” he remembers, “but it put 100 points on my credit score.” With no credit history and no one to cosign a loan or credit card, he had to start small and navigate the process by himself.
“I was banking with a traditional bank and it was horrible. I had a personal account and a business account at the time, and it seemed like they would hold deposits just long enough for me to overdraft an account,” he says. “Sometimes they would hold checks for over a week. Since I was running my own business, I had money going in and out of my accounts constantly so it was really a problem.”
Laying a Solid Foundation
That’s when Shuck decided he needed an alternative. His mother banked at a credit union and he had heard good things, so he looked into a few by literally just walking in branches. That’s when he met Jill McNabb, the branch manager at Greater TEXAS FCU, and the rest is history. He was impressed with the level of customer service and the fact that everyone he spoke with was genuinely invested in helping him with whatever he needed.
Now, he finds himself in the credit union all of the time, balancing capital investments with paying off debts in order to secure a better future for himself and his family. “I work with Jill every time I go in there. She knows my goals and I feel like she has my best interests at heart.”
More than anything else, Shuck loves knowing he can go to his credit union for free financial advice. He does regular land clearing and other construction contract work on the side, and McNabb is his most-trusted advisor when it comes to buying a new tractor or paying off the equipment he already owns. “She knows my goal is to get everything paid off and she’ll tell me if something I’m thinking about purchasing is going to set me back.” But he never feels pressured. “Even if she tells me it’s going to set me back in paying everything off, if I still want to do it, she’ll figure out the best way to go about it.”
Working a full-time job, raising a family and managing frequent contracting jobs on the side, Shuck says the mobile banking capabilities at Greater TEXAS FCU are a lifesaver. “I love that I can deposit a check by taking a picture of it, and I use the app to check my account every day.” But unlike other banks he’s worked with over the years, he doesn’t notice a tradeoff between banking technology and face-to-face member service at his credit union. “I’ll call Jill if I’m using the app to deposit a big check just to let her know it’s coming. She’ll keep an eye out for it and let me know when it’s gone through.”
Working with Greater TEXAS FCU, Shuck is certain, has been the difference between struggling to keep his head above water and building the financial foundation for a brighter future for his family. “I honestly would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the credit union. They gave me loans to get equipment and get started when I know I would have had trouble getting those loans from corporate banks.”
Building a Better Future
Now he is focused on creating the stability for his family that he never had growing up. With McNabb’s counsel, he’s committed to paying off his debts with the goal to turn his contracting work into a full-time gig. “Eventually I’d like to get to where I can work for myself, and the credit union is helping me do that.”
Not having had the opportunity to go to college, he’s constantly aware of the leg-up a secondary education will provide his two children. In fact, Shuck’s next visit to the credit union will be to sit down with McNabb to set up college funds for his daughter and son, ages 2 and 6, and develop a plan to ensure their educations will be paid for. “When it comes time for them to go to college, I don’t want them to have to ask if they’re going to go; I just want them to pick which school they want to go to.”
For Shuck, Greater TEXAS FCU is more than an institution. It’s a financial partner and trusted advisor as he navigates the challenges of building a business of his own and securing a better future for his family.