HARRISBURG, Pa. (5/27/08)--Pennsylvania State Treasurer Robin Wiessmann praised the Credit Union Better Choice program--a payday lending alternative--and confirmed her commitment to supporting the program in testimony before the Pennsylvania House Finance Committee May 20. The testimony was in support of House Bill 2295, which extends part of the investment authority for Treasury’s funds. The extension will allow Treasury to continue to broadly invest in securities, including equities and mutual funds, until Dec. 31, 2010. It also provides the appropriate authority to obtain reasonable returns with reasonable risk assessment (Life is a Highway May 23). Wiessmann described the Credit Union Better Choice program, which was developed in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association. The program is “believed to be the only program in the nation to provide a statewide alternative to payday lending, protecting consumers from the exorbitant fees that oftentimes trap them in a debt cycle,” she said. “Credit Union Better Choice provides consumers with low-cost, short-term loans and an investment in their futures through the program’s financial literacy and savings components,” Wiessmann continued. Wiessmann concluded her remarks saying: “I am committed to keeping an eye out not only for future risks, but also for emerging opportunities for positive returns for the Commonwealth. Positive returns can be enhanced, however. I strongly believe that we can do well for our funds and, at the same time, do good for Pennsylvania stakeholders. The KeystoneHELP and Credit Union Better Choice programs are perfect examples of this philosophy.” Christina Mihalik, association assistant vice president, governmental affairs, attended the hearing.