NEW YORK (8/13/09)--A letter in Wednesday's USA TODAY from Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association President/CEO Michael Beall says that courtesy pay is a safety net for struggling members. Beall responded to a recent article about courtesy payments, which cover members' checks when they have insufficient funds. The orginal article indicated the service is primarily a profit center "Such courtesy payments are a short-term safety net for members struggling to stay on their feet," Beall wrote. He noted the article underscored important differences between courtesy payment programs of credit unions and those of banks: credit unions charge less than banks and typically use the fee to subsidize favorable interest rates on other services. Credit unions realize their obligation to educate their members about the financial responsibility, he said. Beall's letter was published on the newspaper's editorial/opinion page and online. For the full letter, use the link.