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The Journey of a HOPE4USA Graduate


The Journey of a HOPE4USA Graduate

Nothing makes our team at HOPE4USA happier than when a client successfully graduates from our program. After all, we truly believe that bad credit really does happen to good people all the time. Everyone deserves a second chance!

Here is a short note we recently received from Darlene, a recent HOPE4USA graduate and a brand new home owner: 

My journey started about 5 years ago after going through a divorce. I was slowly drowning in bills and could not keep up with all my payments. My credit score starting going down also. I used to have excellent credit many years ago. However, 3 years ago, I was forced to come to the realization that I could no longer continue my spiral down, and was forced to settle with a short sale of my home. My loan officer introduced me to HOPE4USA. The staff at HOPE were very professional, friendly and made me feel at ease. We set up the process and [the HOPE4USA team] began contacting the creditors on my report. I started seeing my score improve and within a year we were gradually getting to the score I needed. I had to have a break in my contract and they were willing to work with me on my payments and restart of the program. Now I have completed the purchase of my home and I owe it all to the HOPE staff and [my loan officer].
— Darlene L.

*Important: While the testimonials and other information on this website may be exciting, HOPE USA, Inc. promises only to perform the steps we have agreed to in each client’s case and to charge each month only for steps already completed. As with any credit restoration work, no outcome is promised. Your results will vary.



Adopting the Perfect Attitude to Reach Your Goals!

Fort Mill Magazine - Spring 2013
Fort Mill Magazine - Spring 2013

Please take a few moments to read a truly inspiring story, featured in the Spring 2013 edition of the Fort Mill Magazine (pages 50-53). The story is written by HOPE Credit Expert, Michelle Black, about an amazing couple who recently graduated from the HOPE Program. We believe you will find their story to be as encouraging and uplifting as we do!

Adopting the Perfect Attitude to Reach Your Goals

At HOPE (Home Ownership Program for Everyone) we have a slogan, “Bad credit happens to good people all the time.” I believe that statement to be 100% true, but it has never been any MORE true than in the case of recent HOPE graduates, Todd and Melissa Melton. Their story is one of selflessness, extreme generosity, and love. Over the past 12 years in my field as a credit expert I have never been so happy to assist a family in overcoming credit issues, nor have I ever felt so personally inspired afterwards.

Todd and Melissa, teenage sweethearts who married in 1994, always knew they wanted a family. A little over 5 years after being married Melissa gave birth to Brandon, a blonde haired, blue-eyed, beautiful baby boy who stole mommy and daddy’s hearts at first sight. As Brandon grew older Todd and Melissa wanted to grow their little family of 3 and they hoped to give Brandon, aka Bam Bam, a baby sister. However, the years passed and Melissa was unable to conceive again. In 2007, Melissa had to undergo a total hysterectomy due to a severe case of endometriosis which she had battled for 6 years. Still, Todd and Melissa knew that their family was not yet complete. They didn’t want Brandon growing up without a sibling.

Since Melissa could no longer carry a biological child of her own, the Meltons began to consider adoption. Previous full-time missionaries with Ambassadors to the Nations, Todd and Melissa first began to research adoptions from China where so many baby girls are born unwanted due to China’s strict one-child policy. Shockingly, Todd and Melissa soon learned that the cost to adopt a baby from China was close to $30,000 – a price that was, unfortunately, out of reach. Still desiring to adopt, Todd and Melissa looked into adoption through foster care in their county. Upon learning about the large number of local children in need of foster homes they promptly applied and were approved to be foster parents. From 2008 - 2011 the Meltons were able to care for and love a total of 7 precious foster children.

In 2009 Todd and Melissa became foster parents to 2 children - an 8 month old baby girl, Shyann, and her 3 year old brother, Isaiah. Shyann and Isaiah’s other 2 siblings, Nathan and Elijah, were being fostered by 2 separate families as well. Then in 2010 a baby girl, Summer, the biological sister of Shyann, Isaiah, Nathan and Elijah, was born and placed with the Meltons at the age of 3 months. In total, there were 5 siblings being cared for by 3 foster families. When the children were finally cleared for adoption in 2011, the Meltons were the only family out of the 3 foster families involved who was able to adopt all 5 children. Yes, their plan was originally to adopt one little girl, but Todd, Melissa, and Brandon had fallen in love with their foster children and couldn’t imagine them being permanently separated from their siblings, or living with anyone else for that matter either. Their little family of 3 had suddenly become a large family of 8!

Shortly after the adoption was finalized, the Melton family was nominated to receive a home from Extreme Makeover Home Edition for their newly enlarged family. In fact, the Meltons were not merely nominated, but they later learned that they were one of the 5 finalists selected to receive a brand new home! Todd, Melissa, and all of the children attended the pre-show rally for Extreme Makeover Home Edition at Belmont Abbey College. The fact that the rally was held at Belmont Abbey College seemed like a good sign since Todd was a student there. (Todd ultimately graduated in May of 2012 with honors from the college receiving his BA in education – no small feat considering that he also worked full time, volunteered at his local church as the children’s church pastor, and was father to a family of 8 all while keeping up with a full time college student’s coursework!)

On the night before Extreme Makeover Home Edition would go to the winners’ home Todd and Melissa sat down with their children. “We explained to them there was a chance that we would be chosen to receive a new, bigger home that next morning,” says Melissa. “But, we also told them that even if we were not chosen we knew that God still had a better plan in store for our family of 8.” Everyone woke up extra early the next morning, a Sunday, and got dressed for church as they did every week. “We knew when they weren’t at our house by a certain time that we weren’t the chosen family. So, we stopped and prayed together. We thanked God for the family that was chosen (in Lincolnton only 20 minutes from our home) and we went to our church, Freedom Christian Center of Charlotte” recalls Melissa. “A lot of our friends were very disappointed, but we were at peace. We really were very excited for the family that was chosen.”

Since more space was still desperately needed, Todd and Melissa decided to try to buy a larger home. Unfortunately, they soon discovered that a home large enough for their family of 8 was way out of their price range, especially since Todd was now the sole breadwinner with the task of caring for such a large family making it impossible for Melissa to continue working outside of the home. So, instead of buying a new home Todd and Melissa would build on to their existing home. By adding a 2nd level to their one-story house the Melton family could add an additional 4 bedrooms, 2 more bathrooms, and an extra laundry room – a great necessity if you have ever tried to do laundry for a family of 8! It was the perfect plan, a more affordable way to provide their family with the space they needed to thrive. Blueprints were purchased, a contractor was found, but when Todd and Melissa went to apply for the construction loan they hit yet another road block. They learned that their credit scores were not high enough to qualify. This was rather surprising because Todd and Melissa always worked hard to maintain good credit and took their financial responsibilities seriously. However, Melissa was uninsured during her 6 year battle with endometriosis and her hysterectomy and we all know how astronomically expensive medical bills can quickly become. The other factor that negatively affected their credit scores was a simple mistake. Todd and Melissa had worked hard to pay off several of their credit card accounts. After paying off the debt, they closed the accounts, believing that to be the right thing to do. What they didn’t realize was that closing those old, seasoned credit lines would drop their credit scores significantly.

You have probably figured this out by now, but Todd and Melissa Melton are not quitters. When they learned that their credit scores were not high enough to qualify for the construction loan they needed they decided to do something about it. Here is where I come into the story. Melissa contacted HOPE for professional credit restoration assistance. The Meltons began working with our team immediately and, before long, their credit scores had increased tremendously! Melissa says, “We would encourage anyone whose credit doesn’t seem to have any hope to contact the HOPE Program! Don’t think it’s impossible to bring your dreams to pass because of low credit scores. HOPE can help your dreams to come true just like they helped our family. Because of the team at HOPE our scores have increased and construction begins on the 2nd level of our home next week!”

Todd and Melissa are a shining example of why we should never give up on our dreams. No matter what setbacks they encounter along the way the Meltons kept their faith in God and their belief that their dreams would come true. When a hysterectomy stopped them from having another biological child of their own, they decided to adopt. When adopting a baby girl from China proved to be out of reach, they opted for a local adoption through social services. When they were not able to adopt the first children they fostered they continued to love other children in spite of their own heartache and vulnerability in doing so. When given the opportunity to keep 5 siblings together in one, loving home, they said “yes!” In the face of great disappointment at not being chosen by Extreme Makeover Home Edition they kept positive attitudes and they taught all 6 of their children the grace to being truly happy for someone else’s miracle instead of being bitter or jealous. When purchasing a new, larger home proved to be unaffordable, the Melton family decided to build on to their existing home. And when unforeseen credit issues made approval for their construction loan impossible, they found HOPE with a company who would help guide them through the process of rebuilding healthy credit again.

Life isn’t always easy and dreams often don’t come true without a fight. You may fall down a hundred times along your journey, but determine now that you will never stop getting back up again. Your dream is worth fighting for just like Todd and Melissa’s dream was worth overcoming every obstacle they encountered. The funny thing is I have a feeling that their dream is not quite through coming true just yet. A national television show may not have decided to build them a dream home, or to pay off their mortgage and debt, but who knows what the future may have in store…

Michelle Black is an 11+ year credit expert with HOPE4USA, a published author, the credit blogger at, a recognized credit expert on talk shows and podcasts nationwide, a contributor to the Wealth Section of Fort Mill Magazine, and  a regularly featured speaker at seminars up and down the East Coast. She is an expert on improving credit scores, budgeting, and recovering from identity theft. You can connect with Michelle on the HOPE Facebook page by clicking here.



New Home Closing!

Congratulations to a new HOPE homeowner! Here's a note that we just received: "Oh thanks so much...closing went GREAT!!!! So I thank you and your team for all your hard work in improving my credit!!!"

~K. Carr



A New Mortgage Friendly Credit Score?

By Sara Bovat of National Mortgage News. CoreLogic and FICO this week released the FICO Mortgage Score Powered by CoreLogic. This new offering evaluates the traditional credit data from the national credit data repositories and the supplemental consumer credit data in the CoreLogic CoreScore.

This is aimed at increasing the number of mortgage loans that lenders make by improving the quality of their credit decisions on loan applications.

In a question-and-answer session with Asset Securitization Report, Tim Grace, senior vice president of product management at CoreLogic, spoke about why the product can potentially drive the number of the country’s mortgage originations higher.

ASR: A recent FICO quarterly survey showed that bankers lack confidence in the housing finance market. What attributes of this new product can help bring this back?

GRACE: The CoreScore credit report incorporates credit history-related data about potential borrowers and existing customers that was extracted from CoreLogic proprietary databases. The databases represent the largest and most complete collection of real estate and public records in the nation, covering 99.9% of the U.S. population. Rental information and nontraditional lender data are also incorporated into the CoreScore supplemental credit report. Since it is updated continuously, the CoreScore credit report provides additional data to augment the information provided by the traditional credit report companies. The FICO Mortgage Score Powered by CoreLogic is a new score that combines the supplementary consumer credit history from the CoreScore credit report with the credit information that is typically provided by traditional credit repositories. We believe the lenders want to approve more borrowers and we think this score will help them do so in a safer manner.

ASR: What makes CoreLogic’s information analysis more accurate and safer for lenders than traditional credit data?

GRACE: The FICO Mortgage Score Powered by CoreLogic is specific to predicting mortgage defaults. The data that was used to develop the model is from recent consumer behavior. This is why the information better represents how today’s borrower behaviors affect credit risk. In our sample of 300,000 mortgage applicants, the score also would have enabled 3,100 more consumers to qualify to purchase a home at a credit score of 700 or above criteria.

ASR: What change did you make to the CoreLogic CoreScore credit report introduced in October 2011 to further improve accuracy?

GRACE: CoreLogic is focused on increasing the transparency into borrower credit behavior. In addition to the new FICO Mortgage Score Powered by CoreLogic, the CoreScore credit report now contains rental information and alternative credit data. All of the data is seamlessly integrated into a single, real-time credit report.

ASR: How does this product help the prequalification and origination phases of the process? Will borrowers be more likely to prequalify for loans?

GRACE: The new FICO Mortgage Score Powered by CoreLogic was designed for mortgage origination from prequalification to prefunding. Analysis of the new score shows that, for a great many consumers, the inclusion of additional credit data could help them. Over 70% of consumers in our sample scored higher with the FICO Mortgage Score Powered by CoreLogic than they did with scores in general use today, and 24% saw their scores increase by more than 50 points. For borrowers in the 580-619 range or those that are close to a lender’s typical credit score minimum, 45% of that population saw their scores improve enough to meet the credit score threshold.

ASR: How will the new scoring model developed by FICO help mortgage lenders more safely and profitably expand their origination volumes? Does it create more transparency or does it better borrower prequalifications?

GRACE: The new FICO Mortgage Score Powered by CoreLogic uses the same score range as traditional FICO scores, making it easy for lenders to operationalize, and for consumers to understand. The new FICO Mortgage Score Powered by CoreLogic is more predictive than generally available credit risk scores due to a number of factors: 1) FICO extracted predictive value from the incremental data contained in the CoreScore credit report; 2) The data that was used to develop the model is from recent consumer behavior, better representing how today’s borrower behaviors affect credit risk; 3) This model is specific to predicting the likelihood of mortgage default at the point of origination; 4) A single risk score is produced, reflecting borrower credit risk using both traditional and supplemental credit data.

ASR: How does CoreLogic’s data contribute to this partnership with FICO?

GRACE: The CoreScore credit report contains information from the CoreLogic proprietary databases of nearly 1 billion consumer credit transactions. By leveraging this data with the FICO’s expertise in analytics, a series of predictive models will be developed to increase visibility into borrower credit risk. The FICO Mortgage Score Powered by CoreLogic is the first model available in production, which leverages data only available on the CoreScore credit report.



Why Are Credit Scores Important?

So, you likely already know the basic principle about what a credit score is used for and, therefore, why it is important to have a good one.  Whenever you apply for a loan (car loan, mortgage loan, credit card loan, personal loan, etc.) a lender is going to look at your credit score and decide whether or not you qualify.  If your credit score is high enough, you can likely expect to be approved for the loan (provided you earn enough income to qualify). However, a low credit score could result in you being declined for the loan you want or, if you are approved, it could mean a higher interest rate and a bigger down payment.

To put it simply, credit scores (and your credit report) are a type of report card which future lenders get to look at when you apply for a loan.  The “report card” shows lenders a picture of how you pay your bills – on time, late, or not at all.  If your credit report shows that you have a history of paying your bills on time then future lenders will want to loan you money as well since, chances are, you will pay the payments on time and they will be able to earn a profit from you in the form of interest.  However, if your credit report shows that you have a history of paying your bills late or not at all then future lenders will be scared to loan you any more money.  The reason they will be hesitant to loan you more money is because chances are higher that they may not get paid back for their investment, much less make any kind of profit through interest fees.

In our current culture, credit scores impact our lives in many ways.  I already mentioned how you will need a good credit score to qualify for any type of loan.  However, did you also know that your credit score may be used to determine you auto insurance rate and whether or not you have to put down a deposit when opening a new utility or cell phone account?  Plus, it is now a common practice for employers to pull your credit score when you are applying for a new job.  Depending upon the industry in which you work, your current employer may even access your credit report to determine whether or not you are “credit worthy” to remain employed with the company.

Since credit affects so many different aspects of our lives, it is more important than ever to have a healthy credit score.  However, if you find yourself in the uncomfortable situation of having a subprime credit score (a consumer score of 649 or lower) then HOPE would like to encourage you to give our credit experts a call.  Remember, you do not have to feel embarrassed or defeated due to a subprime credit score!  Bad credit scores happen to good people all the time. In fact, over 60 million American currently have a subprime credit score so, if you are in the same boat, you certainly are not alone! You still deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel otherwise.

You can make a plan today to start improving your credit scores.  Please contact us via email or phone at 704-499-9696 to learn more about how the HOPE Program can help you to achieve the healthier credit you desire! 

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