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CU helps actors--even former ones--with loans
NEW YORK (2/20/08)--Actors FCU in New York is determined to make its members homeowners--even though most of them have sporadic incomes and do not make more than $100,000 a year. The $90-million-asset Actors FCU caters to theater industry employees, who often have a hard time getting loans from banks because of their changing incomes. But the credit union understands--its mortgage underwriter, Paul Cole, used to work as an actor (New York Daily News Feb. 18). “Law and Order” star Jerry Orbach was the credit union’s first mortgage borrower. Orbach, who died in 2004, got a loan for a West Side home in 1967, when he was acting in “The Fantasticks” on Broadway. Some of the credit union’s borrowers include Donna McKechnie, who played Cassie in “A Chorus Line,” and Anika Noni Rose, who appeared in “Dreamgirls” and is now starring as Maggie the Cat in Broadway’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” When approached by a potential borrower whose only source of income is a play, Cole reads reviews and checks ticket sales to see if the show has potential for a long run. He also examines two years’ worth of account statements and the borrower’s housing costs. When analyzing credit reports, Cole focuses on behavior patterns instead of scores, he told the newspaper. If a borrower is turned down because of high debts or other issues, Cole tells the borrower to come back when the financial issues are straightened out--which takes about a year. Actors FCU officials do not approve a mortgage unless a borrower can handle it, because the credit union must protect its assets, the Daily News said. Many of the credit union’s members are laid off when their shows end. Members do not always have steady employment, but they always find ways to make ends meet--such as temping or working odd jobs, Cole told the newspaper.
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