Pennsylvania Credit Union Association

Credit Union Association Chairman Presents to FDIC Committee

3/29/2007

Credit Union Association Chairman Presents to FDIC Committee

Alternative Payday Lending Program Touted
 

HARRISBURG – On Wednesday, March 28, Norb Kaczmarek, President and CEO of Erie Federal Credit Union and Chairman of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, presented the Credit Union Better Choice program, an alternative payday lending program, to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion (ComE-IN) in Washington, D.C. 

The ComE-IN was established by Chairman Sheila C. Bair and the FDIC Board of Directors pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and includes high-ranking banking officials, regulators, educators, and distinguished business and community leaders. The Committee is to provide the FDIC with advice and recommendations on important initiatives focused on expanding access to banking services by underserved populations.  [For additional information on the ComE-IN, visit http://www.fdic.gov/about/comein/index.html]

“We are extremely proud to showcase the work of Pennsylvania’s credit unions to this most prestigious FDIC Advisory Committee,” states Kaczmarek. “The Committee was very impressed with our work and shares our hope that more credit unions will agree to participate in this worthwhile program.” 

Launched in October 2006, the Credit Union Better Choice program is an affordable alternative to high-priced payday loans.  To help get consumers in Pennsylvania off the payday lending treadmill, the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) partnered with the Pennsylvania Treasury Department to offer the Credit Union Better Choice program.  The program was also developed with guidance and support from the Pennsylvania Department of Banking.

Currently, there are 149 locations from 48 credit unions throughout the Commonwealth that have pledged to offer these short-term loans.  In order to qualify for a loan under the Credit Union Better Choice program, a consumer must either be a member of the participating credit union or fall into its field of membership requirements.  For additional locations, visit www.PaCreditUnions.com.

Through the Credit Union Better Choice program, consumers can obtain a 90-day, $500 (or less) installment loan, at an 18 % (or less) interest rate, with an application fee of $25 dollars (or less) from a participating credit union.  In addition to providing lower cost loans, the hallmark of the Credit Union Better Choice program is to promote wealth building and financial education.  To support wealth building, at the loan’s disbursement, an amount equal to 10 % of the loan will be deposited into a savings account in the borrower’s name.  During the loan, interest accrues on the savings account and any interest paid on the additional 10 % is rebated upon payoff.  To enable the borrower to make educated financial decisions, credit unions will offer financial education/coaching in conjunction with the Credit Union Better Choice program.  There is no credit check required to qualify for a Credit Union Better Choice loan. 

At the end of the Committee meeting, FDIC Chairman Bair launched a two-year pilot project for banks. The committee endorsed the project to highlight the need for reasonably priced, small-dollar loan programs that provide value to consumers and banks.  The FDIC pilot incorporates many of the features contained in Pennsylvania’s Credit Union Better Choice program. [For information, visit http://www.fdic.gov/news/news/press/2007/pr07026.html.]

Credit unions are financial cooperatives that provide affordable financial services to help their owner/members to be better informed consumers.  The Harrisburg-based Pennsylvania Credit Union Association is a trade association that provides legislative, promotional, educational and operational support for more than 500 credit unions in Pennsylvania.  These credit unions have assets in excess of $23 billion and serve nearly 3.5 million members.  For additional information about credit unions or to find a credit union near you, visit www.PaCreditUnions.com.