Pennsylvania State Treasurer Rob McCord continues to rave about a credit union payday loan program that has reportedly saved members $15 million.
McCord visited the $125 million Cross Valley Federal Credit Union on Tuesday to hear how the Credit Union Better Choice program helped three women meet unexpected expenses, according to the Pennsylvania Treasury Department.
The Wilkes-Barre, Pa.-based credit union said it has issued 280 Better Choice payday loans to 101 members since 2007.
Launched in 2006 through a partnership between the state and the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, participating credit unions have made 43,000 Better Choice loans totaling $20.5 million.
According to officials, the loans have saved consumers nearly $15 million in fees and interest typically associated with payday lending products. The loans are available at 79 credit unions with 222 locations in Pennsylvania.
"Too often, the people who fall prey to these payday lenders are those who are already struggling economically or are living paycheck to paycheck. We want them to know there's an alternative – appropriately named the Better Choice program,” McCord said.
Edward Kaushas, president/CEO of Cross Valley FCU, said deciding to offer the loans was easy.
“We are delighted to know that because of this program, we have been able to reach out and make a difference in the lives of our members and their families,” he said.
The PCUA said a typical $500 payday loan costs consumers $15 for every $100 borrowed for two weeks, or about $450 over 90 days. A $500 Better Choice loan costs consumers about $42.50 for the same 90 days, and at the end of the loan term, consumers have $50 in a savings account.
In the fall of 2010, McCord spoke highly of the payday loan program, saying it helps many Pennsylvanians stretch their dollars further in emergency situations while avoiding a “debt trap” that traditional payday lenders might create.