HARRISBURG, Pa. (3/3/10)--Through Credit Union Better Choice, a payday loan alternative, credit unions have issued more than 28,000 loans totaling more than $13.4 million dollars since 2006. Members saved nearly $10 million dollars by using the program instead of a traditional payday lending product. Credit Union Better Choice borrowers also placed $1.3 million into their savings accounts. Borrowers used loans for Christmas gifts, car repairs, traffic fines and funeral expenses. The program is offered through participating credit unions and is a partnership of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association and the Pennsylvania Treasury Department. Since the program’s inception, 82 credit unions have agreed to offer Credit Union Better Choice loans, with more participants continuing to sign on. From July 1 thorough December 31, about 8,163 loans totaling $3.9 million dollars were issued. For all of 2009, there were 13,462 loans, totaling $6.5 million, issued. “In our rough economy, many Pennsylvanians are finding that their paychecks do not stretch far enough when unexpected expenses occur. I’m proud that credit unions offer an alternative to the high-cost payday lenders for short-term borrowing needs,” said Jim McCormack, president/CEO of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association. “More important, the credit unions are offering financial counseling to assist borrowers with money management and credit.” “Better Choice connects hard-working individuals with the quick cash they occasionally need for an unexpected expense or between paychecks, and helps them avoid the ‘debt trap’ of usurious loans--in fact, since inception, Better Choice has spared Pennsylvanians nearly $10 million in interest and fees,” Treasurer Rob McCord said. Pennsylvania consumers saved an average of 80 cents in loan fees and costs for every dollar borrowed through a Credit Union Better Choice loan. That translates into more than $9.6 million that consumers kept in their own pockets by using credit unions that offer Credit Union Better Choice loans. Also, borrowers were able to place more than $1.3 million into savings accounts for future needs. To learn more about the program, use the link.