BALTIMORE-Realizing that her term on the NCUA Board is coming to an end, NCUA Board Member Debbie Matz announced that the July 7 Partnering and Leadership Successes workshop would be her last. She quipped that she would be autographing programs at the end of the day. Despite her good-byes, Matz recognized that predatory lending would not be leaving any time soon. She pointed out that the payday lending industry has set a goal of reaching 15% of consumers. Each year, six million new people get payday loans with rates of 350-1,000%. “Predatory lenders are earning billions-that’s billions with a `B’-and that’s coming out of your community,” Matz emphasized to PALS attendees. Not only is that money that could be flowing through the credit unions, but credit unions also have a statutory responsibility. “The Federal Credit Union Act requires credit unions to provide affordable credit to those of modest means,” she said. Sitting at an empty table littered with half filled water glasses after the workshop, Matz told Credit Union Times she wanted credit union officials to take away from this workshop, “No credit union is too small to serve the needs of their members with alternatives to predatory lenders.” You cannot expect your members to come to you, Matz told the credit union officials, so get out in the community. The right services are important as well. “Be able to make a $200 (or) $300 loan in 10 minutes without a lot of paperwork.” Of the PALS workshops, Matz bet she had “learned probably more than any of you.” She added, “When I hear someone has used a program from a PALS workshop, that is the best pay of all.” Matz exited the podium at the end of the workshop to a standing ovation. In an interview, she said she would “be honored” if PALS would continue after she leaves, but she also understands if it does not. “It takes a tremendous amount of work. It’s very labor intensive,” Matz said with a satisfied sigh mixed with exhaustion and relief. [email protected]

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