MADISON, Wis. (1/14/09)--Credit unions nationwide are providing their own version of an “economic stimulus package” to help consumers during challenging economic times. In addition to their usual efforts and the participation in the national Invest in America auto loan program, some credit unions are providing extra help to stressed members. Here are the efforts of a few:
* Resource One CU, a $265 million asset, Dallas-based credit union, is offering financial solutions with its “Resource One Economic Stimulus Package” that includes rates up to 4% interest on 36-month certificates of deposit; rates as low as 4.55% on auto loans; a skip-a-payment program that allows members to skip a loan payment for one month to help ease cash flow; and referral rewards in which members can earn $25 by referring a friend or colleague to open an approved checking account with direct deposit or an approved auto loan. * Neighbors CU, a $205.6 million asset, St. Louis-based credit union, began a promotion for qualified members who had a car loan, last summer when gas prices reached an all-time high. The promotion involved a drawing for eligible members in which the winner won free gas for one year. Neighbors will provide winning member Steven Kessler $400 per month for a year to pay for his gasoline (The Missouri difference Jan. 7). * Members CU, a $209 million asset, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based credit union, started offering members its Holiday Skip-a-Pay program in November. The program allows members to extend the due date on any non-mortgage loan--without fees--for one month. “These extensions not only made the holiday a little bit brighter for our membership, our records show that this huge sum of money was likely spent right here in North Carolina,” Jack V. Braswell, Jr., Members president/CEO, told the North Carolina Credit Union League (The Weekly Update Jan. 9). * Credit Union of New Jersey (CUNJ), a $240.2 million asset, Ewing, N.J.-based credit union, created a loan to help with financial burdens that come with the holidays. CUNJ’s Holiday Loan allowed members to borrow $1,000 with a low, fixed-rate loan. CUNJ also eased qualification standards to provide the loan to as many members as possible, it said. In the two-week period that the loan was available, nearly 1,900 members took advantage of the promotion at six CUNJ branch locations (The Weekly Exchange Jan. 9). * Abilene (Texas) Teachers FCU, with $215.2 million in assets, said it will distribute about $500,000 in rebates to its members in January. The credit union is returning 7.5% of the interest members paid on loans during 2008. The rebate is being applied to all member loans other than credit cards and real estate loans. The funds are distributed into members’ savings accounts through direct deposit (reporter news.com Jan. 7). * Atlanta-based CDC FCU, a $162.8 million asset credit union, announced a new Member Rewards benefits program last month for the community. The program serves as an outlet for members to receive more products and services from the credit union. In 2008, members were offered an auto loan rate of 4.4%, a six-month certificate of deposit rate of 7.5%, and grant funding for mortgage loans. Overall, more than $20 million has been loaned to members for consumer loans, and $21 million in mortgage loans. The credit union received about $22 million in deposits. “We are well-prepared to work with our members through troubled economic times, and we look forward to being a viable option for non-credit union members,” said Betsy Mercier, CDC president/CEO. * FAA CU, a $331.2 million asset, Oklahoma City-based credit union, distributed nearly $500,000 in year-end interest rebates and dividend bonuses to more than 40,000 members in 2008. The credit union has distributed profits to its members in the past eight years. It increased the percentage to 3% from 2% this year to help members through the economic crisis (The Oklahoman Dec. 11).