SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) – âIt was scary, it was really scary,â Lavell Neal said.
A credit card mailed to then-teenager Lavell Neal put him in a mountain of debt that wiped him out.
âThey sent it to me three weeks before Christmas. I was Santa Claus that year. I walked away. Everyone had a knack, so I kept raising the limit, increasing the limit and it got really, really, really high, âsaid Neal.
To ease the burden, Lavell would eventually acquire four more credit cards, pushing them to the limit as well.
âI wasn’t going to say that because it’s a little embarrassing, but one of my credit cards was $ 30,000,â Neal said.
Now the grass is definitely greener on its side, thanks to a long-standing and little-known program called Green Way.
âOur customers are truly our heroes. We’re here to support them and help them through the process, but they’re the ones who are doing the hardest part to get out of debt, âsaid Kristen Holt, CEO of GreenPath.
A colleague led Lavell to GreenPath, the national nonprofit association. GreenPath started 60 years ago in Michigan. They helped him get on the path to financial freedom.
âWhen GreenPath first gave me the plan, they told me it would take about five years. So in my mind it was a red flag that went up, âNeal said.
âThe gentleman I spoke to, he took his time. I was on the phone with him for about an hour and a half. He took his time, he got it all organized and I said you know what, ‘let’s do this’, âNeal explained.
âWhere are you now and how has it helped you,â asked Glenda Lewis of WXYZ.
âI have no more credit card debt,â Neal said.
âWe’re just able to renegotiate those interest rates to get them to a point where they can actually see progress and make progress and get out of that debt,â Holt said.
âWe really work with them to understand the money that goes into the household. Where is it going and how do we fit this payment into the budget, align it with when they are paid so that it can become really manageable and we can support them every step of the way â, a added Holt.
âHaving that financial power and being able to take control of your destiny really helps a family grow,â Lewis said.
âIt really is and it reduces stress. Debt can cause so much stress and it impacts every aspect of your life, your family, your children, âsaid Holt.
“One thing I learned was that God always has a ram in the bush and when I found out about GreenPath they negotiated with the credit card company on my behalf and they got that rate of 24 % to 2%, âNeal said. .
âSo what would you say to a struggling person who needs help finding out how this service came to be and just helped you organize your life,â Lewis asked.
âAlways accept help. I didn’t want to do this when I first heard about it. I felt like I could do it on my own, but if there is an opportunity for someone to help you, accept that help, âsaid Neal.
Many families have struggled with financial burdens, especially during the pandemic, feel free to contact GreenPath. There is no charge for their services.