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News Now

CU System
Single mom is 10000 financial makeover winner
BATON ROUGE, La. (11/5/09)--Earlier this year, Kristi Smith, a single mother of two from Walker, La., was drowning in debt with little savings because of a divorce and undisciplined spending. She took a chance at a fresh start by entering a local financial makeover competition sponsored by E FCU.
Click to view larger image The winning family of E FCU's Lose to Win: Financial Edition competition received $10,000 after an eight-month competition. The family reduced debt by $22,000 and saved more than $12,000. From left, front row: Kalyn Smith, 7, and Shelby Smith, 9. Back row: Ken Bordelon, E FCU CEO; Anna Lafitte, E FCU collections manager and contest coach; Kristi Smith, Lose to Win winner; and Valerie Jenkins, Consumer Credit Counseling Services counselor and contest coach. (Photo provided by E FCU)
Eight months later, with the help of a team of financial coaches, Smith turned her finances around and was named the $10,000 grand prize winner of the Baton Rouge-based credit union's Lose to Win: Financial Edition competition. Smith competed with three other families to see who could reduce debt and increase savings by the greatest percentage from February through September. With the help of financial coaches Anna Lafitte of E FCU and Valerie Jenkins of Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS), Smith and her two children, Shelby and Kalyn, lost more than $22,000 in debt and saved more than $12,000. The families' journeys were chronicled weekly through online videos and blogs, and during television newscasts on local NBC and Fox affiliates. All the participating families improved their financial outlook. Combined, the four families made a financial swing of $80,000, with the help of E FCU and CCCS. Here's how they placed:
* Second place--the Ridings family of Gonzalez, La., who reduced debt by more than $10,000 and grew savings by $8,000; * Third place--The Willis family of Baton Rouge, who reduced debt by more than $9,000 and saved $6,300. * Fourth place--The Hall family of Zachary, La., who lowered debt by $9,000 and raised savings to nearly $3,000.


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