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Helping the Carters Battle Cancer

Contributed by: Heath Combs

A prostate cancer diagnosis hit Ron Carter in 2013.

“It was shocking,” Nora Carter, his wife, said. “I tried to remain hopeful and optimistic, but any diagnosis that starts with ‘the big C’ is scary. What if the outcome is not what we are hoping for? What are we going to do?”

Ron’s $30,000 prostate treatments costs were magnified because he was in a “gap situation” and didn’t have any medical insurance. When you combine that with a mortgage – now held by a company that acquired their original mortgage company –  a car loan and credit card debt, their finances were getting stretched thin.

“The cancer diagnosis, the expenses, and the other debts were causing us a lot of financial difficulty.  Since 2013, we have simply been trying to stabilize,” Ron said.

Ron is retired from a career in community development work for several cities in North Carolina, including Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and Charlotte. He’s also an inventor who holds multiple patents related to wireless video surveillance.

Nora works in the mental health field. Around the same time as Ron’s cancer diagnosis, she lost her job in a staff reduction, further complicating their financial difficulties. To compound matters, last December, their 2002 vehicle began having mechanical problems. “We needed something different,” Ron said.

So, Ron went to their Truliant Federal Credit Union office a few blocks down the street in Matthews, North Carolina.

“My wife has been a Truliant member for a number of years,” Ron said. “I have always been pleased with the credit union’s fees and services. I’ve used traditional banks before, but Truliant’s services and fees are more in line with our needs.”

Ron sat down with Meredith Starks, a Member Service Specialist who has been with Truliant for about a year, to discuss his auto loan needs.

“The first thing we did was a No-Cost Credit Review, during which we take an in-depth look at a member’s credit history and their credit score,” Starks said.

The value of the No-Cost Credit Review is that it gives both the Truliant representative and the member a thorough picture of debt payment history and the member’s credit score. Knowing a member’s full financial picture makes it much easier to consider various tools, financing options, and potential solutions when all the information is on the table.

For the Carters, who have been married nineteen years and have equity available in their home, Starks analyzed their full financial landscape and saw an opportunity for the couple to take out a closed-end home equity loan.

In a subsequent visit to Truliant, Ron brought Nora to the appointment. “When she heard about the refinancing options available through the equity in their home, she was head-over-heels excited,” Starks said. “Nora said, ‘Let’s go for it!’”

“A closed-end equity loan is an option that provides a fixed-term or fixed-rate option,” Starks said. “We were able to utilize the 90% loan-to-value to pay off their existing mortgage, credit card debt, and another auto loan. We ended up saving them $700 per month in payments, put them on a plan to raise their credit score by improving their debt-to-income ratio, and are getting them approved for a new car loan,” which was the primary reason that Ron originally walked into Truliant.

For the Carters, the whole process has been one of relief and satisfaction.

“If Meredith only knew how much her diligence impacted our lives, he continued. “She saw that there was an opportunity for us. I am so grateful. I told her what a difference she made by being objective. Many banks just look at ratios and margins they don’t really take the time to research and take an in-depth look into individual circumstances as Meredith did. She and Truliant were able to see our possibilities and to help us. What made it so special they took an objective look at our situation. They made a decision based on our ability.”

“The refinancing liquidated a number of our outstanding loans.” Ron said “It’s one thing to know you have somewhere to turn as opposed to having nowhere to turn. If you haven’t been in that situation, it’s hard to know what it’s like. But that’s where we were. Our situation changed overnight. And our outlook on life changed like night-to-day thanks to Meredith and Truliant Federal Credit Union."

Speaking of outlooks on life, Ron’s cancer was successfully removed and he is currently cancer-free.

To learn more about debt consolidation with Truliant, visit

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