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NEW YORK – The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions has released the final form of its two new programs to expand credit unions’ work with low-income people and promote alternatives to payday lending. Funded by grants from the Ford and J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, the final grant applications can be found on the Federation’s Web site and must be returned by September 20, 2004. The Bridge grant program will make grants of up to $100,000 to so-called “mainstream” credit unions – those which have not traditionally focused on serving low income communities, to help them partner with CDCUs and others which specialize in working in low-income areas. “Mainstream credit unions have a wealth of resources and CDCUs have a wealth of experience,” noted Cliff Rosenthal, Federation executive director. “Together they can help build new wealth where it is needed the most.” APPLE grants are targeted toward CDCUs that are members of the Federation and will support five pilot programs designed to develop new payday lending alternatives. “We want to help consumers keep more of their hard-earned money,” said Lewis Jones, president of the J.P Morgan Chase Foundation. Other Foundation officials have explained that the Foundation really sought to encourage the developing of different payday lending alternatives that could be tailored to specific populations, such as service members or laborers. North Side Community FCU, a CDCU which already has an established alternative payday lending product, will help the five grantees to get their products established as well. North Side’s product has saved its community nearly $2 million in payday lending fees and interest, according to Ed Jacob, North Side’s CEO.

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