LAS VEGAS — There a number of misconceptions surrounding the demographic of the average payday loan user that are probably standing in the way of credit unions being able to serve them.

At a payday lending alternative panel held today at NACUSO’s annual conference, several experts spoke on the expanding window of opportunity that could exist for credit unions unsure about offering an alternative product. Brad Keiser, executive vice president of electronic services at Shared Resource Technology Group, said 76% of payday loan users have household incomes over $50,000, tend to be financially disciplined and value speed, convenience and privacy.

“Payday loan users are misunderstood because they don’t look like you,” Keiser said referring to a CU’s typical board or management team. “They’re more savvy than you think.”

When it comes to the unbanked population that uses payday loans, 80% are Hispanic or Black, have less than $40,000 in household income and tend to pay cash or use money orders to pay bills.

Jeff Kline, president/COO of CommunityAmerica CUSO One, offered even more proof of the misunderstood user: 76% have incomes over $50,000, 68% are female and 40% are homeowners.

“These are people who should be credit union members but are not,” Kline said.

Roughly 20% of CU members use payday loans with the average loan between $325 to $345, Kline said.