Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fixing Credit, Financial Issues Starts With the Right Coach

James Dunning, Transformance
Time and again we hear a familiar story: Tales of hard-working Americans who are overwhelmed by debt, have little or nothing in savings, and are on the verge of disaster when the next emergency strikes. The individuals and families are often stuck in a downward economic spiral due to poor decisions and unforeseen circumstances.

Recent studies support what we hear: More than 40 percent of the U.S. population lives in “liquid asset poverty” and 30 percent routinely use non-bank borrowing. That’s 140 million people who are struggling to keep up with rising costs and often borrowing against future income to make ends meet. Another frightening fact is that more than half of the U.S. population has sub-prime credit – which means they’re paying even more than they should in high interest rates.
Making more money isn’t necessarily the answer. A recent survey from revealed that even individuals making six figures don’t have as much saved up as they should. Too many of us are spending more than we should or over-using our credit cards – regardless of how much we make.

At Transformance, we stress the need for consumers to better understand their credit scores, to gain knowledge in how credit and budgeting works, and learn basic steps to increasing their financial stability. We do this through one-on-one coaching sessions, workplace seminars, and tailored webinars. We also disseminate a lot of material – both online and in print – for free, so we can empower those in our community to make more informed decisions for themselves and their families. Transformance Navigators can also steer clients to local services we access through SpringFour.

But setting things right financially isn’t simply about finding the money you need to pay down mounting credit card debt or tucking a few extra dollars away for that inevitable “rainy day.” One of the things we’ve learned from the stories we’ve heard is that many situations are a result of poor financial behavior – behavioral habits that have been passed from previous generations, often creating a legacy of poverty or crises.

When individuals connect with our non-profit organization, we immediately schedule a coaching session and begin to look beyond just the immediate issues. Transformance clients and our certified coaches will:

·       Discuss life-changing events or triggers
·       Complete a detailed review of the client’s income, expenses, and bills
·       Review existing credit report and score, comparing past behavior and discussing tips for improvement
·       Discuss savings goals
·       Discuss debt reduction
·       Create a spending plan, reviewing options based on the client’s financial situation
·       Prioritize goals and finished with a Client Action Plan, detailing the next steps needed to make those goals a reality

Walking hand-in-hand with those who need help, our agency has seen a positive change in the lives of many. On average, Transformance raises credit scores by 61 points and lowers debt by $580 per month. We’ve helped our clients achieve this by creating relationships, meeting with them one on one (or online, if they prefer), and encouraging them to make lasting behavioral changes.
SOURCES: Assets and Opportunity Scorecard 2015; FINRA Investor Education Foundation National;


JAMES DUNNING is the digital marketing manager, creative director, and storyteller at Transformance. A former newspaper journalist, James has worked in communication roles with non-profit and education organizations for the past 15 years.

Transformance Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1974, and is a United Way Service Provider as well as a HUD-approved multistate housing counseling and education organization. The agency is formally accredited every four years by the Council on Accreditation for Children and Families (COA) to ensure compliance with top industry standards and best practices. The agency has its headquarters in Dallas, Texas, with satellite offices in Arlington; Austin; Amarillo and Ardmore, Oklahoma.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Why this Partnership Has Us Excited

Last week we announced a new partnership with LendUp (
that will allow LendUp customers to access SpringFour’s local resources that may help them address financial challenges that they are facing.

This partnership represents a new type of subscriber for SpringFour and we could not be more excited. LendUp, a well regarded player in the fintech space, is a lender that is providing an alternative to pay day loans.  They are using technology to offer short term loans to those that need help in a transparent and innovative way.

LendUp provides loans for customers that typically have credit scores below 680 and cannot qualify for a traditional bank loan. The unique component of LendUp’s loan process is that, in states where the LendUp Ladder is available, customers have an opportunity to move up to better loan options as they pay back their loan and also have the opportunity to build credit histories and take advantage of free financial education and counseling sessions.

By partnering with SpringFour, LendUp’s customers can now  find additional savings opportunities to address financial challenges through referrals to local non-profit and government agencies that offer programs and resources that may be of help in such areas as utilities, prescription drugs savings and childcare resources.

This partnership makes sense because both LendUp and SpringFour understand the importance of addressing the root cause of financial hardship. It’s not enough to just provide a product or service that funds that shortfall or meets the immediate, short-term need. Ultimately, for a customer to be successful in paying off that loan and moving forward on the path to financial health, the very reason for that loan needs to be mitigated. SpringFour helps to do so by curating resources that address many of the reasons that often precipitate the need for a short term loan—such as job loss, health crisis or unexpected home repair.  LendUp’s mission is to provide anyone with a path to better financial health. We are happy to join them in that mission.


About LendUp

LendUp’s mission is to provide anyone with a path to better financial health. It offers safe, transparent products that expand access, lower costs, and provide credit building opportunities for the more than 80 million Americans who currently have limited options within the traditional banking system because of a low credit score. LendUp is located in downtown San Francisco and is backed by prominent Silicon Valley investors including Y-Combinator, Google Ventures, Susa Ventures, Data Collective, Kleiner Perkins, Andreessen Horowitz Seed Fund, Kapor Capital, QED, Eagle Cliff Investors, Yuri Milner and Thomvest Ventures, plus other highly regarded angels and entrepreneurs.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

2016 Survey Results – SpringFour Providing Essential Tools for Financial Health

Each year SpringFour surveys our users to better understand how they are interacting with our applications and how S4’s financial health resources are helping transform the daily financial lives of consumers.

We are happy to share those results with you today.

98% of users agreed that SpringFour allows them to provide tangible tools and resources to consumers who otherwise would not know where to turn.

We like that number and it keeps us motivated to insure that we continually seek out the best and most innovative resources available to help consumers. We strive to be that go-to-resource for anything and all things that can make a difference in a consumer’s financial health.  For us at SpringFour, this isn’t just a part of what we do, it’s ALL that we do. Everything we do at SpringFour is super focused on making certain that consumers have the local tools and resources they need to see a change in their financial outlook.

We also know that by providing call center agents and front line staff who interact with consumers a way to address and empathize with the challenges facing them we can help shorten call times, empower employees and make their jobs easier. 

As one counselor stated, SpringFour provides quick, efficient information at your fingertips, it is accessible, easy to read and to communicate to clients,” making my job easier.

SpringFour’s resources allow for consumers to act on direct recommendations and make a tangible impact on their household budget. Almost half of users report that more than 50% of their consumers who received SpringFour referrals were able to improve their payment performance on major debts. This is a big win when you consider that 77% of users also reported that at least half of their clients pay one bill late every month.

For consumers struggling with financial challenges, having someone point them in the direction of a concrete way to save money can make all the difference.  Often these consumers are unaware of money saving resources and believe that their only option is a short-term payday loan, which will only make their situation worse.

S4 referrals on the other hand point consumers towards the real, quality solutions that have an impact.  97% of respondents to our survey agreed that SpringFour provides trusted referrals to local solutions for financial health.

We are proud to share that users believe, Its great to have a service like this that provides non-biased referrals to non-profit and government services because we never have to question the authenticity of the information we're passing on to our clients in need.”

Through this survey, we also got a better picture of just how important tools to improve financial health are, and the difficulties consumers who access S4 referrals are facing. In addition, many are struggling with high cost financial products such as payday loans, check cashing services, and high interest credit cards.  Almost 70% of respondents reported that half of their clients are accessing these products.

Faced with bills they can’t pay, and irresponsible financial products that ultimately make them worse off, consumers need and deserve trusted referrals to nonprofit and government resources more than ever.  SpringFour continues to provide these referrals, and our clients see the results of consumers getting on the path to financial health.

Thanks to all of the SpringFour users who took the time to give us feedback and information. We continue to be amazed by the hard work our subscribers are doing, and are proud to partner with organizations committed to improving the financial lives of consumers.