Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Meet the Staff: Adrienne Wynn


In 2008, I was seeking an administrative assistant position in the Charleston area. I applied with Family Services Inc (now Origin) as an operator for our client hotline. My interviewer and now Director was my customer at a previous place of employment and had no idea that I applied for the position! You never know whose watching. Here I am 8 years later and loving it! 

What has surprised you the most about working at Origin SC?

What surprises me the most about working for Origin is the feeling that I have when I am able to be a part of helping someone achieve his or her goals. Individuals who come into my office with no hope at all leave with the information, tools, and determination to make it to the finish line. The nervous feeling that I get with every customer as if it is my first customer is mind blowing. I am able to step out of myself and do whatever it takes to make their dream a reality. 

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

Working with Origin has been a great experience and has played a huge part in shaping me to be the person that I am today. It’s not about me….It about the customers that I meet on a daily basis. 

How has Origin SC helped you in your career development?

Origin has been a great help in my career development. From a phone operator I never thought that I would be assisting individuals towards their dreams.  

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

I am very proud of myself. I would not change a thing about my journey, Origin SC has witnessed me change as a person, a mom, a renter to a homeowner, a college graduate and most importantly a person that wants to see everyone that walks into our office succeed. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Potential Changes for Student Borrowers: What you need to know

Recently, President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced a plan to revamp the student loan repayment process. Read on to learn what this means for new borrowers and those in repayment.

Currently there are over 44 million individuals in the United States repaying a total of $1.4 trillion in student loans. The majority of this debt is in the form of federal loans with being serviced by nine different companies. Many do not understand the terms of their loan when they are first borrowing and others are unaware of the options that they have for repayment once they leave school.

The biggest proposed change would be that all federal loans would be serviced by one company. There are currently four companies bidding to be the provider: Navient, Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (or American Education Services and FedLoan Servicing) and Nelnet and Great Lakes Educational Loan Services (submitting a contract together). Having just one servicer would allow the federal government to better monitor the quality of customer service and support for borrowers. It is also suggested that the new plan could save taxpayers up to $130 million over the course of the next five years.

Critics worry that having a single servicer could give too much power to one company. Whatever firm is granted the contract would have significant impact on the financial situations for all of the 44 million Americans in student debt. They would have the power to control repayment and refinancing structures with no other option for borrowers to transfer to.

The Trump administration has stated that interest rates and repayment plans will not be changing much. However, there has been talk of changes to loan forgiveness programs. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program could be potentially eliminated for those serving in the public sector, affecting more than half a million people. Currently, borrowers can have their student loans forgiven after 20 years of making monthly payments at 10% of their income. Trump has proposed that this process be changed to 15 years of payments at 12.5% of income. This would cause monthly payments to rise, however borrowers would save on interest and the loan would be forgiven sooner.

There is currently no timeline on the rollout of the new policies for student loans. If you or someone you know needs assistance navigating the student loan process, Origin SC offers a FREE student loan workshop on the last Monday of every month at 6:30 PM at our North Charleston location. We also offer one-on-one counseling for debt management. To learn more, click here or call 843.735.7802.

Welcome Home, Jaquawna!

Each year, Origin SC helps hundreds of people find a place to call home. Many of our clients never before thought that they would have the opportunity to own a house. We are so excited to welcome Jaquawna and her daughter into their new home.

Jaquawna started out in our credit coaching program. By persisting toward her goal, she continued into our homeownership program and closed on her house just in time for summer. Read more below:

I first knew I wanted to buy a home when my rent continued to increase every year. I would think to myself, “It has to be cheaper to own a home.” I felt like the amount of money that I was paying out every month should have been spent on something that I could call my own. 
 I'd always dreamed of buying a home but as a single mother, I didn’t think it would be financially possible for me. I originally came to Origin, formerly known as Family Services Inc. because I heard an ad on the radio in 2012 about classes to help with budgets and credit. I learned so much that I didn’t know before in these classes. I wondered why this stuff wasn’t taught more in depth in high school. I began to apply this new knowledge to my life.It wasn’t until I took advantage of the opportunity to meet with a counselor on a one-on-one basis that I truly considered pursing my dream. Mrs. Revena Dawson worked with me to create a plan for my goal. With her help, I began to budget my money, build my credit and save for a home. I felt like giving up sometimes when unexpected expenses popped up or there wasn’t enough money to make ends meet or build my savings. But Mrs. Dawson continued to encourage me and guide me in the right direction. I will never forget those times when she would review my bank statements with me and showed me the reality of my spending habits. She believed in me and worked with me to help me believe for myself that becoming a homeowner was an achievable and affordable goal. So I pushed harder toward my dream for my daughter and me.
I learned so much about the home buying process. It was not as complicated as I originally thought. I learned what lenders were looking for in an applicant, how much house I could afford, and why it is important to have your home inspected prior to purchase. I enjoyed the homeownership class with Mrs. Debbie Kidd.  Origin made the process easy to understand and reduce a lot of the stress associated with the home buying process.
On the day that Mrs. Dawson told me that I was ready to begin apply to lender, I couldn’t believe it! All the hard work had paid off. When I began receiving responses from lenders, it was unbelievable how affordable my mortgage was in comparison with the rent I was paying.  Again, Mrs. Dawson was right there for me, helping me weigh the pros and cons on each option. Once I decided on a product, it was time to look for homes. Location, Location, Location is everything. I viewed several homes but I knew exactly when I had found “the one.” It was in my preferred school district and located within an acceptable distance from work. It had the right amount of bedrooms and space. And my mortgage wouldn’t be far from what I was paying for a one bedroom apartment!! My agent put in me in for it but unfortunately it went to another applicant. I was crushed but I kept searching. My agent calls me up one day to tell me that the sale fell through and my perfect home was back on the market. I jumped on it immediately and on April 29th, 2017. I signed my closing documents and became a very proud first time home buyer. My daughter and I absolutely love our new home.  We will forever be grateful to Mrs. Revena Dawson and Origin for helping us turn a dream into reality.

If you or someone you know is interested in buying a home but doesn't know where to start, click here or call 843.735.7802 to learn more about our homeownership and credit coaching programs!