HARAHAN, La. (5/2/14)--Louisiana credit unions quickly responded when state Rep. Sharon Weston Broome (D-Baton Rouge) requested that the Louisiana Credit Union League work on alternatives to payday loans.
On April 14, Broome submitted a concurrent resolution, SCR 79, that asked the league to "work on viable laon and product alternatives for consumers who do not qualify for traditional bank loans and services."
"We immediately called on our credit unions," Connie Major, league executive vice president, told News Now. The quick response to the survey meant the league had examples of what Louisiana credit unions are doing in this area to show Broome during last week's meeting.
The draft response to Broome included input from 32 credit unions that offer payday loan alternatives. Program examples include hope loans that consolidate all existing payday loans into one with a six-month repayment plan; OOPS (occasional overdraft protection services) loans that allow a member to overdraw their account up to a certain amount; and salary advance loans that are based on members' direct deposit amounts and require a member to put 5% of the loan amount into savings.
In addition to special loan programs, more than 70 credit union staff have successfully completed the certified financial counselor program (FiCEP). Another 80 students are currently enrolled in the course.
"She knows the good work credit unions are doing," Major said of Broome.
The resolution gives the league until March 2015 to respond, giving plenty of time to collect additional efforts by credit unions.