BALTIMORE-Things are not always as they seem. Maryland Credit Union League President and CEO Mike Beall explained this to attendees of the latest Partnering and Leadership Successes workshop, like payday loan borrowers. Beall related Energy Federal Credit Union’s experience with its alternative payday loan program, which has done 4,000 such loans without promoting them. The users average income was $53,000 and their average credit score was 813. “It’s not who you think it is sometimes,” Beall said. He explained that these people were not low-income, just low-wealth. People like payday loans because they are quick and convenient. Beall walked into a payday loan shop himself one day. “You don’t find ogres. You don’t find evil. You don’t find any of that. You find very nice people,” he said, adding that they will serve credit union members if credit unions do not. “We don’t say yes easy enough to a $250 loan,” Beall stated. “Consumers want payday-style loans whether we want them to or not.” he added. “Credit unions can add to this equation affordability.” Additionally, he said, “Credit unions can do it with a respect for the consumer.” [email protected]

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