Wright-Patt Credit Union strives to help people through life. Sure, it accomplishes this goal with its everyday services and member benefits, but the credit union’s programming also includes support for the community through aid to development projects and outreach to local businesses. It’s a multi-faceted approach that puts it one step closer to being “indispensable” to the people it serves.
Home Sweet Home
With the help of its service organization, myCUmortgage, Wright-Patt originated more than 2,100 first mortgages in 2009. “We believe, even with the financial crisis, the greatest way for somebody to create wealth in their lives is through home ownership,” says Jeff Carpenter, vice president of membership and development.
Dayton’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has plenty of airmen that need reliable, affordable transportation. To fill that need, they can turn to “buy here, pay here” dealerships that offer poor vehicles at poor prices, or they can turn to Wright-Patt Credit Union. “We had a lot of airmen that needed vehicles, but they didn’t have a co-signer and they didn’t have credit,” says Linda Stephens, vice president of consumer lending. The airmen do, however, have a steady job and paycheck. So the credit union developed an airman loan program, which enables the borrowers to buy a car, without a co-signer, at a B-paper rate.
During a public forum on payday lenders, a community member pleaded to the city commissioners to allow the services to remain open. Without the payday lenders, she said, she’d have only the loan sharks. Even her credit union would turn her down. Wright-Patt took notice. It developed a short-term lending program that does not require a credit check and charges an annual fee ($35-75) for access to a $250-500 line of credit. The program, StretchPay, is now part of a multi-owned CUSO that has funded more than 86,000 advances totaling more than $31 million.
“We have money to lend,” Stephens says. “That’s what we’re in the business of doing.” And that’s what the credit union does, be it for auto dealers, airmen, students, homeowners, or small business entrepreneurs. When it comes to commercial lending, high dollar and heavy volume are desirable attributes; however, Wright-Patt also serves a segment of small business owners. As a part of the Cooperative Business Services CUSO, Wright-Patt provides businesses loans of up to $250,000 with low closing costs and a quick turnaround. Read more.