Why did WSECU start offering small dollar loans?
How did QCash begin? It’s an excellent story about a front line employee living the motto of people helping people.
Our story begins when a teller at Washington State Employees Credit Union, the credit union that owns our CUSO, that members were coming into the branch repeatedly for money orders. Money orders aren’t anything to be concerned about, but our teller noticed one very important thing: those money orders were then used to write other money orders to payday lenders.
We didn’t know anything about payday lending at the time, but thanks to WSECU’s empowered culture, the teller told the credit union CEO about what she observed. Our CEO then put together a small group of big, bright minds to figure out what was occuring and how WSECU could help.
What the credit union discovered was its members were using predatory payday lenders to meet their short-term, small-dollar needs. WSECU decided they not only needed to help their members, but short-term lending was something credit unions could and should do.
And, not only can WSECU short-term, small-dollar loans save members money, they can simultaneously create a new, revenue stream for the credit union.
And so, 14 years ago, QCash was created to provide short-term, small dollar loans to WSECU members.
As QCash began to gain local market share, the credit union began to wonder, “if we are changing the payday lending landscape in the state of Washington, where else could we go? How might we be able to share this with the credit union community and change the landscape across the country?”
WSECU didn’t know the answer to that question, but decided to give it a shot. And so, in April 2015, QCash Financial was born and began delivering short-term, small dollar loans to other credit unions and banks, in hopes of meeting the needs of other consumers the same way WSECU has helped its members.
And that’s the story of how QCash has grown from one teller’s thoughtful observation to a CUSO that has sparked a short-term, small dollar lending movement.
By Ben Morales, CEO of QCash Financial [April 2018]
Ben Morales is the CEO of QCash Financial. QCash Financial is a CUSO providing automated, cloud-based, omni-channel small-dollar lending technology that enables financial institutions to provide short-term loans quickly to the people they serve. QCash Financial, a wholly owned subsidiary of WSECU in Olympia, Wash., started as a short-term loan solution for the credit union’s members in 2004.