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Immigrant builds credit and his American Dream

Adolfo Murillo came to the United States six years ago, bringing only his visa, a pair of shoes, a Nike shoebox full of socks—and a lot of hope.

“The American dream was possible,” said Murillo, who was born in Rome and later moved to Mexico City.
He began building his life in the United States, working at a Cedar Rapids auto dealership and renting a house for his family. Paying more than $1,200 a month in rent, Murillo was ready to work toward another American dream: homeownership. But he didn’t know how to get there without credit.

“Our culture believes strongly in paying your stuff off, so I had no debt. But I had no credit,” Murillo said.

His coworkers encouraged him to reach out to Dupaco’s Sylvia Miller. When they met in February, Miller said he needed to first build his credit. She explained how credit works and helped him open checking and savings accounts, a Dupaco Visa credit card and a small personal loan.

Murillo did everything Miller asked of him, and by fall his credit score had skyrocketed—jumping from 0 to 669. He was ready to buy his first house.

“He was doing everything we are all doing—he earned his money, paid his taxes, sent his kids to school. He just needed somebody to say, ‘You’re worth it,’” Miller said. “I told him, ‘I’m not giving up on you.’”

Murillo, his girlfriend and his two daughters moved into their Anamosa house in September. Their family has since grown by two huskies, which his girls had long wanted.

“It’s the most beautiful house on the planet,” Murillo said. “The feeling of owning a house, there is nothing like that feeling.”