With a background in banking, Pat Huedepohl likes to be able to help clients in her current role as a financial counselor at the San Antonio Financial Empowerment Center (FEC).

She recalled that as a banker, “when people were declined, I could only explain to clients that they were declined…I could not help them,” Pat said. Now, as a financial counselor, she can make recommendations and help clients understand their credit score, overdraft fees, and how to navigate the processes at financial institutions successfully.

Pat finds helping people achieve their financial goals to be rewarding – she even keeps a visual reminder of the impact of her work on her desk. “At my desk, I have 8 figurines of houses,” she said. Whenever clients ask, “How long will it take for me to get a house?” Pat will point to those figurines and explain that those are 8 houses she helped her clients get their finances in order to purchase.

“I help families clean up their budget, work on their credit, and purchase homes.” Pat explained.

Celebrating clients’ successes in such a visual way has inspired Pat’s other clients to work hard to achieve their own financial goals. For example, one client working to buy a home has requested that, once she is finally able to purchase the home, Pat will buy a figurine and paint it purple. “I send her reminder emails with the subject line ‘purple house goal,’” Pat added.

Working closely with her clients, Pat helps them accomplish financial goals, such as financing a house, one step at a time. When a client told Pat “You know, I opened a savings account – there’s only $25 dollars in it,” she replied, “it makes a difference for your whole month.”