After many years as the ugly ducklings of the credit union industry, lower income credit union members are poised to become a good deal more like swans in 2013.

This is partly because it has begun to dawn on credit union executives that being lower income does not automatically or necessarily translate into being higher risk or lower profit. Credit for this discovery belongs partly to community development credit unions which have taken the time to exhaustively document their experience working with lower income members and to have shared their experiences with mainstream credit unions that are interested in learning from them. But credit also belongs to the legions of payday lenders, check cashers, title lenders, pawn shop lenders and rent to own places that have made it clear that serving the needs of lower income consumers, even poorly, can definitely be a money making business.

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