HARRISBURG, Pa. (7/15/09)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) said it supports a decision made Friday by the Commonwealth Court to preserve the Pennsylvania Department of Banking's requirements that payday lenders be licensed. The court ruled that Internet payday lenders, and other out-of-state companies that issue consumer loans to Pennsylvanians, must be licensed by the Department of Banking and comply with state laws. "Everyday consumers are charged exorbitant interest rates and fees to borrow money using payday lenders," said PCUA President/CEO Jim McCormack. "We applaud the court for upholding the Pennsylvania Department of Banking rules that protect consumers from lenders who take advantage of those most vulnerable." In 2007, credit unions in the state launched the Credit Union Better Choice program, an affordable alternative to high cost payday loans, said PCUA. It noted consumers using the program can obtain a 90-day, up to $500 installment loan, at a maximum 18% interest rate, with a $25 or less application fee from a participating credit union. In addition, the program promotes wealth building and financial education. To support building wealth, the program deposits 10% of the loan being disbursed into a savings account in the borrower's name. All borrowers are offered financial counseling. The program is offered by 82 credit unions in 215 branches throughout the commonwealth.