EAST LANSING, Mich. — Often credit unions go looking for underserved people in their fields of membership to serve. But sometimes the underserved come looking for help and it's up to the credit union to respond.

That is what happened at the $168 million Option 1 Credit Union (then Financial Health Credit Union) when a member affiliated with the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition approached the CU about help in administering some funds that the MDRC had been granted to offer assistive technology loans to people with disabilities.

The credit union accepted the challenge and began to administer the Michigan Assistive Technology Loan Fund, through a partnership with the MDRC and United Cerebral Palsy of Michigan. Over the last three years, the fund has made $1.4 million in loans to 239 individuals across the state so that they could buy the sorts of technological improvements to their homes or other tools needed to overcome their disabilities.

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