Thursday, January 12, 2017

Meet the Staff: Kristin Bastian


When I was hired here, it was as a temporary employee. I had been offered another position at a bank at the same time I was offered a position here. I was drawn to this agency because of all the different ways in which they helped people in our community. When I was in college studying finance, I remember saying that I wanted to use that knowledge in order to work with every day people in bettering their financial situations. Origin SC has absolutely allowed me to do that. The agency has changed in so many ways since I first started, but what I’ve noticed the most is the change in the housing division. I started here auditing and scanning foreclosure intervention client files, and there were boxes upon boxes of these files of clients we assisted in saving their homes. Foreclosure prevention was one of the biggest things that we did, but now as foreclosures have decreased, we are focusing more on homeownership promotion and assisting individuals and families purchase their first home. I’m very happy to be a part of all of it.

What has surprised you the most about working at Origin SC?
I am most surprised by the impact we are able to make in people’s lives. There are times where I feel as though it’s just my job to help someone pay their credit cards more easily and affordably, and that it’s not that big of a deal; however, it is a big deal, and my clients tell me that all the time. It’s especially great when someone is able to pay off their debt management program early because they have made significant changes to their spending habits, stuck to a budget, and just made better decisions overall. What we do every day, which is something we can sometimes take for granted because it’s just our job, really does make people’s lives better. I constantly get surprised by that.

What is an experience that has really shaped who you are? 

I was still in college when I had my first child, and I became a single mother shortly after I graduated. It was definitely a struggle, both financially and emotionally. I didn’t make the best decisions with my finances either – like defaulting on my federal student loans – and rebuilding and getting my footing in life took some time. Thankfully I started working somewhere that could help me make better decisions, and they did! That entire experience has definitely shaped who I am because it made me work that much harder for everything I have now. Going through all of that also helps me relate to my clients better. I can say to them that I know what it’s like to struggle, that I’ve been exactly where they are, and that there’s hope and help out there. 

How has Origin SC helped you in your career development?

Origin SC has been incredible with my career development! Like I said, I started out as a temporary employee and was given such great opportunities to move throughout the organization. I’ve spent time at the front desk, as a Representative Payee Counselor, as a Credit and Bankruptcy Counselor, then Consumer Credit Counseling Services Manager, and now I’m a Director. I’ve had so many great leaders to learn and gain inspiration from, like Debbie (the Homeownership Director) and especially from David (our Executive Director). They’ve always pushed me to do more and learn more. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be serving on the NFCC Operating Committee or on the Council of Advisors on Consumer Credit for the SC Dept of Consumer Affairs.

What is the one thing in this world you are most proud of?

If I had to narrow it down to one thing, I think the thing that I’m most proud of is being appointed by Governor Haley to serve on the Council of Advisors on Consumer Credit. There’s just something about getting a letter addressed to the “Honorable Kristin Bastian” hand signed by the Governor (who I respect immensely), with a handwritten “thanks Kristin” included, that made me so honored and thrilled, and kind of surprised, that I could achieve something like that in my life. 

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