The National Credit Union Foundation has released the results of its survey of REAL Solutions' impact.
The survey found that 91% of REAL Solutions participating credit unions make used car loans to borrowers with low credit scores: D and E paper, through REAL Solutions' Steer Clear of Predatory Car Loans program.
Almost 90% of REAL Solutions participating credit unions make loans of less than $500 and make an average of 299 small loans per year.
In addition, nearly 68% of the responding credit unions make small business loans for members with low-wealth and low- to moderate-income.
Over 85% of REAL Solutions credit unions have adopted tiered pricing to help applicants with lower credit scores can be approved at risk-based rates.
More than 66% of credit unions participating in REAL Solutions offer young adults, aged 18 to 30, cards tailored to their needs to build credit history.
Over 54% offer first-time mortgage plans for lower income homeowners.
The survey also found that transaction services are popular among credit unions using REAL Solutions, including offering check cashing, free checking accounts, and money orders to members and nonmembers; debit cards designed for young adults and international remittances.
"In reaching low-wealth families, REAL Solutions targets an even broader audience than other efforts focusing solely on low-income," explained NCUF Executive Director Steve Delfin. "Previous research has shown that low-wealth markets include not only lower-income consumers, but also consumers with moderate and middle incomes who have been unable to build significant savings or assets. REAL Solutions aims to help all of these consumers become credit union members, grow savings, and build assets that will generate wealth for their families."
The REAL Solutions program seeks to arm credit unions with products and services that they can use to better serve lower income members and communities. According to the NCUF, 1,400 credit unions from 33 state leagues participate in the program. Of 444 surveys sent out to participating credit unions, 183 credit unions responded.