NAPERVILLE, Ill. (6/11/08)--Partner credit unions involved with Illinois’ REAL Solutions effort recently met at the Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) headquarters to discuss their next steps to add programs and products to serve low-wealth households. REAL Solutions is designed to help credit unions offer services that have proven successful in serving people of modest means, working families and low-wealth households. REAL Solutions is a National Credit Union Foundation program offered nationwide. Thirty credit unions have signed up for REAL Solutions in Illinois, ICUL said. The credit unions will focus on a number of initiatives, including payday alternative loans, youth and young adult programs, immigrant outreach programs, member education, check cashing and voluntary income tax assistance (VITA). Other focus areas include first-time homeowner programs, stored-value cards, asset building savings programs and safe accounts. During the meeting, credit unions participated in a diagnostic interview with REAL Solutions field coach Mark Lynch, who gathered information on products and services that the participating credit unions offer and areas of interest for future programs. The group found that:
* Asset size for partner credit unions ranges from less than $1 million to more than $1 billion; * Ten partners have a payday alternative loan product; * All partners said they want to learn more about payday alternative loan products; * Five partners offer formal financial and credit counseling programs to members, while 16 offer information programs; and * All 30 said growth is a primary business focus.
The next meetings are scheduled for June 26 and July 23 at the ICUL. At the meetings, speakers will present information on payday lending and VITA.