The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Our Impact On The Community – By The Numbers

On November 16th, 2009, posted in: Uncategorized by

It has been said that you only know what’s in a sponge when you squeeze it.  That is the truth.  St. Louis Community Credit Union and credit unions as a whole are getting squeezed by regulation and legislation.  I can’t speak to the make-up of other credit unions, but I know the DNA of St. Louis Community, and there’s a lot of “fight in this dog” as it relates to protecting the benefits of our members.

The “Overdraft Protection Act of 2009” (if passed in its current form) could actually hurt our members.  There are two big issues confronting our members:  (1) The idea that our members may be limited to only six overdrafts per year; and (2) the prospects of losing the right to overdraft through the ATM or through the use of one’s debit card.

Now, if you don’t use overdraft protection, you don’t care much about such action being taken.  You’re probably thinking…balance your checkbook and none of this will matter anyway.  You would be right, sort of.  But you should probably know that those members who use (and love) our overdraft service pay fees to utilize it – enough fees that enable the Credit Union to offer lots of other services (that you may use) totally free.  Chances are, you have visited one of the branches that are paid for, in part, by member overdraft fees.  The list is endless of how overdraft activity has allowed us to reach more members with more services.

If you go by the numbers, here are just a few of the important ones to keep in mind related to what SLCCU does for our community.  And yes, some of what we do is a result of our overdraft program.

1…We have one passion and a singular mission: to improve our members’ standard of living and better their lifestyle.

8…Offices in the urban and near-urban area of St. Louis.

15…Dollars charged for overdraft protection. The average among St. Louis area financial institutions is more than $26.

23…Years since SLCCU last raised the fee related to overdraft protection.

25…Percent of our total loans come from members with a “lower than prime” credit score. (The banking industry is nowhere near this level of help.)

50…Percent of SLCCU members that are defined as low/moderate income.

107…Financial education presentations provided by SLCCU to the community free of charge during the first seven months of 2009 in order to help people avoid paying fees.

300…Dollar minimum to open a Certificate of Deposit. The market average is $1,100.

1,235…Members that use our Freedom Payday Loan Alternative in order to avoid expensive payday loan companies.

4,043…Second-chance checking accounts opened in the past two years that help people reestablish themselves and stop using expensive check-cashing facilities.

9,600…Number of new members that will open accounts at St. Louis Community Credit Union in 2010.

36,378…Number of total members that have a better life by belonging to SLCCU.

2,700,000…Dollars saved because SLCCU members only pay $15 per overdraft.

2,890,000…Dollars in finance charges and fees saved by SLCCU members when compared to the cost of using a traditional payday lender.

4,212,806…Dollars saved by SLCCU members on an annual basis by using “second-chance” checking instead of a check cashing facility.

As you can see, we do a lot of good for our members and our community.  Because we give back so much to create economic well-being, you can see why we are against any legislative action that would hurt or hamper our ability to make our members’ lives better.  There are even more numbers, but we’ll save those for another day.

Using overdraft protection is a controlled event.  It’s a decision that is yours to make.  Members choose to use overdraft protection of their own volition.  What could happen if Congress limited the number of overdrafts per year to six?  I would hate to think that a member would have a medical emergency, need a prescription filled, need gas to get to work or, worse yet, go hungry for a couple of days waiting for their paycheck.  All reasons, I’ve been told by SLCCU members, for not taking away this needed and appreciated service.

Yes, when you squeeze the sponge that is St. Louis Community Credit Union, two things are evident:  (1) You witness all of the good that pours out; and (2) We’re not giving up the fight for the well-being of our members. Both are a promise.

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