Sheila Sheffield wanted to share the news. Wouldn’t you, if you’d seen your credit score leap nearly 200 points in just a couple months?
So, she sat down at her computer – the same one she’d use to change her financial future – to give thanks. We call it a Letter to Regions.
Here’s what she shared:
A couple months ago, I signed up for a WebEx with Regions Bank that had to do with finances. I learned so much that I continued to join them every Tuesday morning. These weekly WebEx’s have been something that I look forward to every week with great excitement. I never believed it was possible to see such drastic results in such a short period of time.
Brief history: A few years ago, we discovered my daughter had cancer her senior year of high school at age 17. (She is cancer free now and 21 years old.) It was such a struggle to be strong for her and take care of everything else by myself as my husband had passed a few years earlier. I was always able to pay the bills, but my debt continued to rise. It is difficult enough with one in college, one a senior, and then add cancer to the mix. Thankfully, we had strong support of our family, church family and friends to help us through some of the toughest times in our lives.
These WebEx’s have been a Godsend. My life has greatly improved. The reduction of stress has been wonderful. The knowledge I have gained has brought such great power in my life. One of my favorite things is I have met some wonderful new friends who I look forward to seeing online every Tuesday morning. They have brought me so much peace, strength, confidence and joy.
It is easy to say things are much better, but the numbers are the proof. My credit score has soared from 617 to 812 in approximately two months. When they told me that could happen, I honestly did not believe them. But it can, and it did! In addition, I followed some of the tips and techniques Regions Bank provided and have watched my savings grow exponentially.
The Rest of the Story
It all started with a phone call.
Lisa Austin, Regions’ consumer banking manager in Hot Springs, Arkansas, learned United Way of the Ouachitas wanted to provide financial literacy for consumers impacted by the pandemic. Austin reached out to Regions Financial Wellness Manager Shalonda Tillman, who asked Don Kimmell to join her.
The next part was easy. Regions’ Next Step library offers lessons and resources on topics ranging from budgeting to money management to podcasts and webinars.
Teaching virtually, Tillman and Kimmell helped their audience quickly build a financial game plan.
“The Next Step materials are awesome,” Tillman said. “They’re practical, detailed and relevant to anyone, and our topics reach every facet of a person’s individual life – whether it’s someone just starting out, or living paycheck to paycheck, or someone expanding their wealth.”
That’s just what Sheila Sheffield was looking for, so she signed up thinking there was nothing to lose. She has worked for 32 years as a credit and collections manager. While she knew the financial perils others faced, she never expected she’d need help.
That changed a few years ago with her youngest daughter’s diagnosis. Added to the stress of a major healthcare scare was the burden of mounting medical bills.
“Debt piles up so fast,” Sheffield said. “And it’s not just the medical bills. Travel became expensive. We were traveling to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock – two-and-a-half hours each way – two to three times a week.”
Much of the debt went to high-interest credit cards. Sheffield had no doubt she would pay them off … eventually. How long would it take? She was thinking decades.
Enter Tillman, Kimmell and Next Step.
Sheffield learned she could consolidate her bills and pay down the debt much faster at a fraction of the interest rate. That one move saved her more than $400 a month.
Then came another revelation. She learned how to track her expenses in a daily financial diary.
“As Don said on a call, you don’t realize how much you’re spending,” she explained. “Being on the go all the time, I didn’t realize how much I was eating out. I was active with my kids. I am active with my church. I work a lot of hours, so I didn’t realize how much was going out the door. I’m astounded at how much I’ve saved.
“Now, learning to cut back expenses and pay yourself back in savings is like an addiction. You see habits of 25-30 years that you can change overnight.”
That’s exactly why Tillman and Kimmell do what they do.
“For me, Sheila’s letter was life changing,” Tillman said. “It reminded me why we are here. Regions, the company I work for, changes lives. And this reinforces everything we do.”
“I want to congratulate Sheila and others like her who participate in our Next Step Seminars and immediately take action,” said Joye Hehn, Next Step financial education manager for Regions. “By design, the workshops are informative and prompt participants to create manageable plans with achievable steps. Since attendees have different needs and goals, each leaves with an individualized plan. This is what makes the Next Step program unique and impactful.”
Sheffield has invited co-workers and customers to join her on the Next Step webinars. She’s also asked her company to offer the Next Step program to all employees.
“I wasn’t even a Regions customer, yet they’ve completely changed my way of thinking,” Sheffield said. “I’ve gotten an emotional boost. I’m no longer stressed about my finances. I’ve made the kind of progress in two months that I thought would take me 25 years to accomplish, and soon, I’ll be right where I want to be.”
More information on Next Step Financial Wellness Seminars and Webinars
Businesses can empower their employees to make the most of their money with onsite and virtual financial wellness workshops. Let knowledgeable and friendly Regions associates provide advice, guidance and perspective designed to fit your business and the needs of your team.