Pennsylvania Credit Union Association




Low-Cost Small Dollar Loans Available




HARRISBURG More than 35,000 small dollar loans have been issued by credit unions across Pennsylvania using the Credit Union Better Choice program.  Through the Credit Union Better Choice payday lending alternative product, credit unions offer borrowers a 90-day loan with a $500 dollar limit.  Since launching in 2006, the 35,000 loans issued by the Credit Union Better Choice have totaled $16.7 million dollars.  More importantly, the program has saved borrowers more than $12 million dollars over using a traditional payday lending product.


            Since the program’s inception, 80 credit unions with 242 locations have agreed to offer Credit Union Better Choice loans, with additional participants continuing to sign on.  During the first six-month cycle (January 1 – June 30) of 2010, 6,780 loans totaling $3.4 million dollars were issued. Further, borrowers were also able to place $1.6 million into savings accounts.  The Credit Union Better Choice program is offered through participating credit unions and is a partnership of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association and the Pennsylvania Treasury Department.  To learn more about the program and a view a list of participants, visit


            “I’m pleased that credit unions stepped up to the plate and are meeting the small dollar borrowing needs of Pennsylvanians.  Just as important, credit unions are also providing financial counseling to help assist borrowers with managing their money,” said Jim McCormack, President/CEO, Pennsylvania Credit Union Association.  “The continued growth of the Credit Union Better Choice program shows that consumers are still feeling the effects of the down economy and that paychecks do not stretch far enough when unexpected expenses occur.”


“Many Pennsylvanians need their dollars to stretch further in these tough times – to help them avoid a costly ‘debt trap,’ Treasury is proud to support the unique Better Choice payday lending alternative,” Treasurer McCord said.  “Better Choice short-term loans have helped families make it to Pay Day and help borrowers save millions in predatory fees and usurious interest rates.”


            A typical $500 payday loan costs consumers $15 for every $100 borrowed for two weeks, or approximately $450 over 90 days.  A $500 Credit Union Better Choice loan costs consumers approximately $42.50 for the same 90 days and at the end of the loan term, the consumer has $50 in a savings account, which allows them to develop a savings habit.  In addition, the program builds upon this new wealth-building component by providing financial education to consumers in an effort to help them make better informed financial decisions.


            Pennsylvania consumers saved an average of 80 cents in loan fees and costs for every dollar borrowed through a Credit Union Better Choice loan rather than through a typical loan from a payday lender.  This translates into more than $12 million that consumers kept in their own pockets by using credit unions that offer Credit Union Better Choice loans. 


Total Number of Loans Issued

Total $ Amount of Loans Issued

Total $ Amount of Consumer Savings vs. Payday Lender

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            Credit unions are financial cooperatives that provide affordable financial services to help their owner/members.  The Harrisburg-based Pennsylvania Credit Union Association is a trade association that provides legislative, promotional, educational and operational support for nearly 500 credit unions in Pennsylvania.  These credit unions have assets in excess of $33 billion and serve more than 3.5 million members.  For additional information about credit unions or to find a credit union near you, visit

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