Astronaut Gives CUs’ Loan Program a LIFT
Five credit unions slated to take part in a pilot to study auto loans belonging to members with subprime credit scores, recently heard some parallels from a Johnson Space Center astronaut.
The Lower Interest for Timeliness, or LIFT, program is being tested as a way to improve repayment behavior and financial capacity, according to the Filene Research Institute’s i3 team. The University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center for Financial Security will study automobile loans to 1,200 low to moderate income consumers with subprime credit scores, with the results to be published in 2013.
Guest speaker and astronaut Janet Kavandi, director of flight crew operations at the Johnson Space Center, recently spoke to Filene and five partner credit unions during the launch of the i3 idea that provides incentives for timely loan payments.
Kavandi shared her experiences in space on three different missions and about how to plan, train for, and execute a complex mission. Filene said credit unions piloting LIFT face all of these challenges as they recruit and test the program.
“It is a fantastic experience to see an i3 idea get into the field for testing,” said Denise Gabel, chief innovation officer at Filene. “The LIFT program will provide credit-challenged consumers with the help they need, while managing the inherent risk in doing so.”
The credit unions piloting LIFT during its research phase include the $392 million Del Norte CU in Santa Fe, N.M., $144 million Industrial Credit Union in Bellingham, Wash., $148 million Innovations CU in Panama City Beach, Fla., $1 billion Public Service CU in Denver, and $330 million Vermont FCU in Burlington, Vt.