MADISON, Wis. – The National Credit Union Foundation's Callahan Fund has made $100,000 available for a credit union that is working on developing a payday lending alternative loan product. Payday lending alternative loans have been getting more attention recently after some credit unions have made the case that a significant portion of their membership use the product which they're able to offer at a profit. To qualify for the two-year grant ($50,000 per year), a credit union must "provide innovative credit union alternatives/solutions to the growing problem of check-cashers, payday lenders, title loans and/or other lenders that prey on the poor, the unbanked, the financially illiterate and others," the NCUF said. Grant applications need to be made by June 1. Jim Blaine, CEO of the almost $10 billion State Employees' Credit Union, headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, reported recently that 25,000 of his over one million members each month use the credit union's payday alternative product. The Callahan Fund will also fund four three-year credit union projects to the tune of between $50,000 and $75,000 per year. Successful projects will address one of the following topics, the NCUF said: Financial literacy/homeownership counseling; affordable mortgage lending; partnerships that extend the credit union's reach into a specific unserved or underserved market (geographic, ethnic or other); credit/debt reduction; Individual Development Accounts (IDAs); and/or First Accounts services to the unbanked.

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