The P.A.

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

People Helping People

On June 15th, 2015, posted in: Uncategorized by

mountain climbersFun with numbers: I noted on one of the many reports I receive on a regular basis that we are fast approaching $1 million loaned out in our Payday Loan Consolidation program. This milestone will be reached probably before the kids go back to school.

What we do is provide members an opportunity to pay off excruciatingly expensive payday loans and connect with a better solution. The less one pays in interest on a loan, the more that they can contribute to their own wealth accumulation through savings. If the money is not saved, but instead spent on goods and services in our community, it creates a positive economic impact that would not have existed if one had continued to pay the higher rate of interest. In other words, “You’re welcome.” It is our pleasure to make the St. Louis area a better, more economically viable place for people to live, work and play. After all, “Community” is our middle name. Get it?

Sure, we make a little money off of the $1 million dollars in loans, but not enough to throw a good picnic. You know what I mean. You’ve been to those really great picnics with checkered table cloths and themed silverware, plates and cups, with salt and pepper shakers that look like something off the knick-knack shelf at Grandma’s house. Well, think of the opposite. We make about enough money for one lawn chair and a small bucket of chicken. No EZ wipes for your fingers, either.

Sadly, here’s what happens. Out of that million loaned out, about $105,000 will not be repaid. Yep, that’s right — people just take the money and run. This hurts the credit union and the community. As a not-for-profit cooperative, we lend money to help people. And by helping one person, we help many people. When you multiply this formula by helping thousands of members help one another, you’ve got a wonderful success story for saving neighborhoods, helping families and strengthening our region. “People helping people” is what it’s called. Sadly, some people just hurt the system. After a number of attempts to collect the money, they receive our prayers.

Every morning that we show up at the Credit Union, SLCCU’s great staff set out with the same mission. It might as well be a tattoo on our biceps — “make people’s lives better.” But when less than well-intentioned people don’t play by the rules, we find that really good programs like Payday Loan Consolidation are on the ropes.

In a perfect world where everybody pays back what they borrow as they should, the positive effect is staggering. As an example, many payday lenders charge interest rates somewhere in the neighborhood of 450%, and we charge 25%. Cumulatively, our members have saved about $4,250,000 in interest on a million dollars in loans. That’s a big impact on families and our community. See what I mean?

Put another way, that’s one heck of a picnic for everybody involved.

Pay back loans whenever possible. It helps to ensure that other people get a chance as well.

 

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