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CUs special services to state workers breed goodwill
HARRISBURG, Pa. (8/12/09)--Pennsylvania's budget impasse is in its sixth week, but thousands of state employees are getting paychecks after working through July and into August with little or no pay. Credit unions have received kudos for special services rendered to help them. Credit unions' special programs generated goodwill from members, said the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) (Life is a Highway Aug. 11). Superior (Pa.) CU saw a steady stream of state employees filing in to repay their PA NonBudget Advance loans. The Collegeville-based credit union, located near the Graterford Correctional Facility, began issuing weekly $500 advances to current and new members. Eleven employees handed out more than 350 advances through the teller line using the Credit Union Better Choice loan format, said PCUA. "The goodwill this service generated has been outstanding," said Superior CU CEO Matt Jones. The $26 million asset credit union signed up 140 new accounts. One member told the credit union that a bank, which visits Graterford, was not willing to help its customers during the budget impasse. Last Friday morning, Superior's staff, expecting a busy day, received NonBudget Advance Survival Kits, which included a stress ball, bottle of pain reliever, a candy bar, a coupon for a 90-minute sleep in late/go home early/long lunch or $25 gift card, and their own box of new paper clips, which had been in short supply because of all the paper work. Employees at another credit union, the $131 million asset Lebanon (Pa.) FCU, processed seven skip-a-payments on existing loans at no extra charge and assisted two state employee members with payday advance lines of credit. CEO Pat Hain said the credit union set up a member assistance program because "it is the right thing to do…We wanted to lessen the burden on families, especially in these economic times." Gov. Ed Rendell signed a partial budget Aug. 5 that allows state employees back pay and current pay. State Treasurer Rob McCord and PCUA President/CEO extended thanks to credit unions that provided assistance in a letter and asked those who amended their Credit Union Better Choice program to revert back to traditional guidelines now that the affected employees are getting paid.


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