July 7, 2008
Loan can be bridge for hard times
By Leslie King
The Emory community is not immune to the difficulties in the current economy.
“We’re seeing more people dealing with financial challenges,” says Paula Gomes, director of the Faculty Staff Assistance Program.
One avenue of help, open to Emory Alliance Credit Union members, is the Member Express Loan. Loan amounts, which can be used for emergencies or short-term needs, are for a maximum of $750 with repayment via payroll deduction. Gomes says FSAP worked with Emory Alliance to get the amount of the loan raised from $500 to $750 last month and to get the interest rate lowered.
Sue Butner, vice president of lending, says the loan was developed so members wouldn’t have to use payday lenders, “whose rates are exorbitant.”
Butner says Emory Alliance had begun offering the Member Express Loan about a year and a half ago, noting that the loan was popular with members and some had used it more than once.
To qualify, a borrower must be employed for 12 months; the loan is no longer limited to only Emory employees. The employee must join the credit union but the loan can often be obtained the same day as sign-up. Payroll deductions can be arranged for the borrower; $50 per biweekly paycheck is deducted or $100 per monthly paycheck.
FSAP and Emory Alliance are also collaborating on a series of basic financial education workshops to help employees deal with the financial pressures they are facing. A pilot program is scheduled during the summer, says Robin Huskey, manager of education and outreach of FSAP, with a rollout planned for fall.
Huskey said an Emory Alliance representative will present workshops on topics including building a basic budget; how to use credit cards wisely; and building a strong credit history.
At the beginning of each workshop, a clinician from FSAP will briefly address managing the emotional impact of financial pressures and getting beyond “financial paralysis.”
“Once we cover some of the basics, we hope to offer programs for targeted populations, such as ‘women and money’ and ‘financial planning for retirement’,” Huskey says.