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International Women’s Day: an ATB success story

Posted on: 3/8/2018 2:58 AM | Author:  

Christina has big dreams. One NSF fee nearly derailed her plans until ATB stepped in to help.

On International Women’s Day, meet a single mom who was empowered to beat financial barriers.

“My credit score was always high,” Christina said. Then she needed to take a medical leave from work in 2015.

“Living month-to-month, dollar-by-dollar, was very difficult.”

One day she noticed a $45 NSF (non-sufficient funds) fee on her account.

“I didn’t have enough money to cover it. Then came another. And another. I couldn’t keep up.”

Service fees began to roll in from other companies. Within a year, her finances were beyond repair.

“Sorry, we can’t help you.”

Her bank rejected her application for overdraft protection, offering no assistance.

“I was scared and I felt like a failure for myself and my child,” she said. “There was no way to stop it. They take advantage of people like me.”

She broke down and told a friend how much trouble she was in. Her friend handed her an Empower U brochure.

Empowering change

Christina applied and was accepted into the Empower U program. She eagerly attended all the workshops to build her financial knowledge and skills.

“They taught us about everything—buying a home, credit scores, how to save money, how to improve bad credit.”

Empower U is a financial literacy and matched savings program for women of diverse backgrounds who are experiencing low income and poverty. ATB Financial matches their monthly savings contribution.

An ATB team member spoke at one of the sessions.

“She told me that I can get overdraft protection if I have ID and my credit is still okay. I started to cry and booked an appointment with ATB that week.”

Friendship Pays

“I thought, this bank is crazy! They offered me money to open an account as well.”

The Friendship Pays promotion was active at the time. Christina signed up for an ATB account, receiving another $350, and then another $150 for signing up her mom.

The Empower U graduate was thrilled to pay off her NSF debt and gain control of her finances again.

Her son was excited to see his mom smile, so he drew a thank you message for the banker.

Christine playing with child

A little help goes a long way

Christina started to focus on her goal of being an entrepreneur. Her plan is to open a child care centre.

“I just completed one year of university in three months,” she said. “I never gave up and I am set to graduate with honours.”

She encourages women to reach out for help when they need to. It may empower them to achieve big dreams after all.

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