WASHINGTON (9/4/09)--Credit unions nationwide received more media attention for helping state workers through challenging economic times. A Thursday Stateline.org article noted Virginia CU, Richmond, Va., for its Virginia State Employee Loan Program, which the credit union operates in partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign to help state workers who face emergency expenses and would benefit from a low-cost, emergency loan with a required financial education component. The loans have a 24.99% annual percentage rate, and are intended to prevent state workers with poor credit from using payday lenders--who could charge 300% or more in interest, the publication said. Since the program was announced by Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine July 13, more than 1,620 employees have received loans. North Carolina State Employees’ CU, Raleigh, also was noted for its Salary Advance program that allows members to borrow up to $500 at a 12% interest rate. Members must repay the amount, plus interest, by the next paycheck. Since 2001, more than 111,800 individuals have borrowed $1.5 billion from the program with a default rate of 0.002%. Hawaii State FCU, Honolulu also allows members who are furloughed or who have reduced incomes to borrow up to $5,000 from the credit union at a low interest rate. More than 20 Pennsylvania credit unions offer low-interest or zero-interest loans to help state workers who were not getting paid. Some dropped off thank-you cards at one credit union to show their gratitude, Stateline.org said. Several states have had budget impasses over the past few months that have affected state workers.