WASHINGTON -- Bill Myers, retiring CEO of the $52 million Alternatives Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Ithaca, N.Y., already seems poised to hit the ground running as one of the new Field Coaches with the National Credit Union Foundation's REAL Solutions program.
According to Foundation Executive Director Steve Delfin, Myers has already begun working with Federation staff to develop other products and services that CUs can more easily offer their lower income members by using the REAL Solutions program platform. Some of these include citizenship loans, first and last rent loans and different sorts of mortgage products.
Myers has also begun working with his other post-Alternatives organization, the Aspen Institute, to explore how feasible it might be for CUs to offer a lower cost sub prime auto loans which could be offered to lower income members at a fairer price than many other lenders currently charge.
The news about Myers' work with the Foundation came along with a number of other details about the Foundation's programming that Delfin included in a report to the Foundation's board. The strong demand for the program among leagues and states has meant that the Foundation will allocate an additional $277,000 to program operations and will cut more than $166,000 from other areas to free up additional funds.
Almost 300 credit unions in 14 states will offer model products and services through REAL Solutions, the report said. The states are Alabama, Connecticut, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland/D.C., Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Ten more leagues have expressed interest in launching REAL Solutions in the coming months: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, and Texas, according to the report.
Delfin's report also outlined the way CUNA is working with the Foundation to develop a survey structure that will effectively measure the impact of REAL Solutions in ways that CUNA and leagues can leverage on Capitol Hill and at NCUA.
The report indicated that CUNA has developed a formula to quantify how much money credit union members have saved as a result of the most popular products offered through REAL Solutions, but that the Foundation is still working on ways to verify how many new members are benefiting from these products.
"The ultimate goal is to help satisfy the heightened expectations that lawmakers and regulators are placing on credit unions to serve more low-income members," the report said.
Delfin's report outlined how interest in the Development Educators program has continued to grow, leading to waiting lists for programs. After a full class of 42 trainees graduated in Madison this past April, a second full class of 42 more trainees are registered for the first DE training ever to be held outside of Madison, Delfin reported, adding that there is already a waiting list for the next DE training in Madison in April 2008.
"Clearly as credit unions are facing unprecedented competition from for-profits (and even from other credit unions), we have tapped a pent-up demand for training in cooperative principles and credit union philosophy," the report said.