FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CU Community Credit Union is rolling out the Fresh Start Loan Program, a more affordable alternative to traditional payday loans, to provide much-needed relief to people struggling in the payday loan debt cycle. "There are many people in Greene and Christian Counties who are drowning in debt, and they turn to other costly solutions to solve short-term liquidity problems," said CU Community Credit Union President and CEO Judy Hadsall. “Our hope is that we can help fill in the gaps where other financial products haven’t been able to provide assistance and create a lasting impact for people’s financial well-being." The U.S. Treasury recently awarded $1,988,750 in grant dollars to CU Community Credit, which the credit union plans to use to roll out the new loan program. CU Community is certified by the U.S. Treasury Department as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) – a specialized financial institution that works in underserved markets. The need for credit building and debt consolidation to reduce the burden of poverty is greater in Springfield than almost anywhere in the state. Approximately 26% of Springfieldians are living at or below the federal poverty level. Many are working two jobs to try to make ends meet. Despite relatively low unemployment rates, the Federal Reserve as designated the community as in “severe fiscal distress” due to the high incidence of poverty. According to the Missouri Division of Finance, nearly two million payday loans were issued in Missouri from Oct. 2013 to Sept. 2014. The average amount of each loan was nearly $310 and the average annual percentage rate (APR) was almost 452 percent. Payday loan borrowers in Missouri can roll over their loans up to six times, but each time they do so, additional fees accrue. “Our Fresh Start Loan Program provides members access to small, short-term loans with reasonable rates and fees,” Hadsall said. “Our financial specialists will work with members to determine if this product is the right fit for their situation and to help them consolidate their existing payday loans so that they get out of the debt cycle faster.” CU Community Credit Union plans to launch the following loan products in 2016: • Payday Loan Alternative
• Credit Builder Loan
• Payday Consolidation Loan
• Title Loan Alternative.
The Fresh Start Loan Program will give people in Greene and Christian Counties the opportunity to build and repair credit, break the payday lending cycle, and consolidate their existing payday loans or other short-term loans that have high interest rates. Participants can enter the program with no credit check, and CU Community Credit Union will provide access to mainstream banking services such as checking accounts with debit cards, online and mobile banking, and a network of nearly 30,000 free ATMs nationwide. To help get the word out about Fresh Start Loan Program, CU Community Credit Union has teamed up with the City of Springfield and several local non-profits, including Community Foundation, Community Partnership, Consumer Credit Counseling Services, Council of Churches of the Ozarks, Faith Voices for Southwest Missouri and the Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation. About CU Community Credit Union
Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives, owned by their members. CU Community Credit Union has approximately $100 million in assets and serves more than 11,000 members in Missouri’s Greene and Christian Counties. CU Community Credit Union provides a variety of consumer financial services, including checking accounts, ATMs, credit and debit cards, new and used vehicle loans, real estate loans, unsecured lines of credit, savings products, online and mobile banking and more. All accounts are federally insured to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Administration, a deposit-insurance agency of the federal government. For more information, please visit mycucommunity.com. For more information, contact: Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, 417-864-1009 (office) | 417-380-3352 (cell), [email protected], or Tanja Kern, Vice President of Marketing, CU Community Credit Union, at 417-522-9722 or [email protected]