RAINIER, Ore. (10/3/14)--With work a 90-minute drive away, Annie Ruddell, a single mother of three, was having trouble carving out enough time for her children during the work week.
In addition to the time she lost driving from Rainier, Ore., to Portland, Ore., and back, the distance made it difficult for Ruddell to rush home when her children really needed her, such as the time her daughter broke her arm and banged her head during gym class, and required emergency room care (Anthem Sept. 30).
Desperate to improve the situation, Ruddell decided it would be best to move her family closer to where she worked and, despite a less-than-spotless credit history, her local credit union helped her realize that goal.
After ruling out renting in Portland for fear of forcing her kids to move twice in one school year, Ruddell approached Red Canoe CU, Longview, Wash., with $599 million in assets, to ask about a home loan.
"I knew Red Canoe was super nice," Ruddell told Anthem. But she said she was still nervous when she arrived, as she had had some "credit blemishes in the past."
Rena Mattison, the loan officer who helped Ruddell, however, took care of those nerves when she informed Ruddell that she was approved for the loan, news that brought the single mother to tears.
But Red Canoe's service didn't end with the loan approval. The credit union worked with Ruddell's realtor and promptly produced for her a pre-approval letter. Then, once Ruddell had found a condo, Red Canoe issued the final approval.
"I called Rena at about 4 p.m. to tell her I'd found a place," Ruddell told Anthem. "And by 10 a.m. the next morning she got back to me with the approval." This despite her realtor cautioning that, because it was peak-homebuying season, the process would take a while.
In all, the closing process had taken 19 days thanks to Red Canoe, giving Ruddell and her kids ample time to settle into their new home before the school year began.
Meanwhile, the vice president who had approved the home loan decided to open a line of credit for Ruddell to help her get her credit back in order. Mattison also gave her tips on how to continue to improve her credit.
"Despite being asked to work miracles for me, they were so considerate and kind, never making me feel like a bother," Ruddell said. "Through the whole process I really felt like they were on my side. I am by no means the ideal home loan candidate, but they never made feel less than a valued member of Red Canoe."