More than 20 Richmond credit union advocates, including League Board members Iris Ellis, Rose Gilliam, Patsy Smith and Chris Williams, swept through the General Assembly offices this morning to thank lawmakers for their support of our bills this session and to update them on the Credit Union Difference.
For instance, Glenn Birch and Dianna Clouse of Virginia Credit Union talked of their credit union’s financial literacy efforts, and the program VACU offers for state employees with bad credit scores. Through that program, the credit union makes loans up to $500 with the member required to take a financial management online class. Small loans are also available to members with better scores. As other credit unions have told lawmakers in past CU Days, this service is not a moneymaker for VACU.
Chris Burgess, the CEO of BayLands Federal Credit Union, said a lot of what his credit union does doesn’t make money, and that includes the $100 loans as well as working with local schools. He also told the aide to Del. Margaret Ransone that BayLands provides free office space to a nonprofit organization that offers financial education. In the last year that organization fulfilled 457 appointments and held 27 education sessions that reached more than 300 attendees in schools and throughout the community.
Rose Gilliam, CEO of Argent Credit Union, said financial education is important because when her credit union has to turn down members for loans, they don’t understand why. She says Argent makes use of small loans as teaching opportunities.
Clouse said VACU also counsels every member who is turned down for a loan. She noted that through this effort, delinquency rates for credit unions are low overall, because most members will pay the credit union first because of their personal relationship with the staff there.
CU Days wrap up on Wednesday when Central Virginia and Lynchburg travel to Richmond.