Making The Case

Members Need Us More Than Ever!

Making The Case for Reality Check

Since our inception, we credit unions have existed to provide affordable financial solutions for our members, especially to those of modest means. Owed to the recent economic downturn, the number of people who are now classified as those of "modest means" has grown exponentially. This is the new reality for households, including Virginia households.

For example:

- Nearly one in four Virginia households earn less than the amount needed to meet basic monthly expenses without some form of outside assistance from government programs, family or friends, or local organizations;

- Further, 28% of Virginia households do not have sufficient cash assets to protect them in the event of a financial emergency;

- Another 56% of households report difficulty paying monthly bills.*

For households that are living paycheck to paycheck, having access to affordable credit is critical. Yet, for many Virginians, their primary and most convenient options may be alternative financial service (AFS) providers such as payday loan stores, pawn shops, and title loan outlets. About 275,000 Virginia households (10%) use these lenders to meet their short-term loan needs. Today, all too often, members turn to these usurious businesses before thinking of a credit union or after having been turned away by a bank.

Consumers' needs have changed dramatically in the past few years. That means our response to meet these needs must change as well. Credit unions now have a tremendous opportunity to prove the Credit Union Difference—to demonstrate that we truly exist as trustworthy financial cooperatives of "people helping people."

Affordable credit, when people need it most, can result in stronger communities, and in turn, a stronger Commonwealth. In response to this new reality, your Virginia League's Community Resource Task Force and the Credit Union Marketing & Business Development Council created this Reality Check initiative. Reality Check gives Virginia credit unions the opportunity to demonstrate our uniqueness, to build visibility within our communities, and to enhance our status as not-for-profit financial cooperatives.

Download the Reality Check Toolkit for more about the needs of Virginians.


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* Source: "Building Economic Security for Virginia Families," University of Virginia' s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, February 2011