NEW YORK (12/5/07)--Eight years ago, Onika Shepherd received a loan from a credit union so that she could buy a car. Shepherd, who was working part-time and attending school at Queens College, thought of credit unions as places that provide personal or auto loans--until she went to see a mortgage broker who recommended a high-interest loan for the home she wanted to buy (New York Daily News Dec. 3). Shepherd, 29, makes $46,000 annually as a Service Employees International Union (SEIU) membership organizer, and couldn’t afford what her broker had suggested. After talking with a colleague, Shepherd consulted with SEIU’s credit union, 1199 SEIU FCU. With the help of her credit union, Shepherd was able to purchase a Queens home in her price range--$350,000. She put 5% down, and the credit union provided her with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 6.87%, the newspaper said. Shepherd is able to make her monthly payments and added she may switch to biweekly payments in the future, but will first consult with her credit union manager. Shepherd’s manager helped her with her mortgage, and according to Shepherd, “That’s how it’s supposed to be at a credit union.” William Mellin, CEO of the New York State Credit Union League, said that half of New York credit unions offer home loans to their members. However, they offer the loans conservatively--which means no mortgages with short-term teaser or interest-only adjustable rates are issued, he said. Mellin said he anticipates more people will join credit unions for mortgage help. New York state currently has 4.2 million credit union members.