NAPLES, Fla. — Finding REAL Solutions that credit unions can adapt to better serve underserved and low-wealth members is a subject dear to Lois Kitch’s heart. The national program manager for the National CU Foundation’s Real Solutions program is a diehard credit unionist with a practical streak. But the two parts must exist in harmony to be effective and make a difference, as idealism without the means to implement ideals is doomed to fail.

So it was fitting that Kitch moderated a panel at the AACUL Winter Meeting here on programs that have shown measurable results. One such program has been the Wright-Patt Credit Union’s Stretch Pay Program, a payday loan alternative. Wright-Patt President/CEO Doug Fecher gave a brief overview of the Dayton, Ohio credit union’s experience. Stretch Pay has a $35 annual fee at 18% interest for a 30-day term. It costs a total of $62 for nine $250 advances in one year, compared to $337.50 from a payday lender.

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