Hardwick Finance Provides Small Loans To Those In Need | New
Rusty Kidd has a passion to serve his community. This willingness to serve led the Milledgeville native to run for the state legislature in 2009. Kidd was elected and held that position until 2016.
âMost ask me if I miss being a legislator,â Kidd said. “What I miss the most is helping the people of Baldwin County and the state solve their problems.”
These days, Kidd is finding other ways to help people, including helping clients who ask Hardwick Finance for his help in downtown Milledgeville. Hardwick Finance is one of 16 smaller loan companies owned by Kidd, including two others in Milledgeville – Lee Loans at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and North Jefferson Street, and Northside Loans at 943 N. Columbia St.
âSmall loan companies give loans ranging from $ 100 to $ 3,000,â Kidd explained.
Kidd received a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Tennessee. After working at a bank in Pensacola, Florida for a few years, Kidd returned to his home state and began opening small loan companies in Atlanta. When his father passed away, Kidd returned to his hometown and inherited eight other small loan companies.
Hardwick Finance has been in Milledgeville for over 60 years. As the name suggests, the business started in Hardwick, near Central State Hospital, in the late 1950s. In the 1980s, Hardwick Finance moved to North Wayne Street in downtown Milledgeville. About a decade later, Kidd moved the business to its current location at 100 S. Wayne St.
While Kidd said he sees clients with all levels of credit ratings, most of his business comes from those whose financial situations are generally too precarious to qualify for traditional bank loans. Kidd said small loan companies have been formed to help these people avoid turning to lane lenders and operate under strict regulations regarding fees and interest rates.
âMost banks don’t give $ 500 or even $ 1,000 loans,â Kidd said. “People have to go somewhere, and it’s better to go to my house than with a credit card because credit cards charge a lot more interest than I do.”
Kidd added that he has many clients who live paycheck to paycheck and don’t have financial assets like a 401k plan from their employer. Hardwick Finance works with clients applying for a loan to create a plan that will take into account all aspects of their financial situation so that the client does not incur more debt than they can afford.
âWe look at their credit report and review all the loans they have and how much income they have and their ability to repay the loans they have as well as the ability to repay us,â Kidd said.
An essential part of the financial planning process is preparing the client for a loan repayment program that works for both them and the lending institution.
“We figure out what they want and what they can afford, from three months to two years,” said Kidd, who added that most loans at Hardwick Finance are paid off in a year or less.
In recent weeks, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hardwick Finance has maintained full hours of operation and has seen a steady stream of customers seeking help during these difficult times.
âWe’ve seen a number of new customers come in and we’ve had a whole bunch of renewals,â Kidd said.
Many customers are still waiting for their stimulus checks to arrive and have to pay their rent and utility bills so that they don’t risk having services disconnected and therefore having to pay high reconnection fees.
Kidd said he and his staff are using several practices to ensure work can continue during the pandemic with little to no face-to-face contact, including accepting loan applications online and over the phone and accepting payments and transferring documents through the mail slot in the office door. Staff members also wear gloves and masks to ensure safe practices all around.
Kidd wants people to know that he and his financial institutions are there to help them through these tough times.
âWe’re open for business,â Kidd said. “If anyone needs a small loan … come see us.”
100 S. Wayne St., Milledgeville
Facebook: Hardwick Finance-Center-ville de Milledgeville
Hours: Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.