Buy vs Build?

July 30, 2018
by Ben Morales, CEO QCash

Why would a credit union make their own payday lending platform versus using the QCash platform?

I’m often asked, “Why wouldn’t a credit union just do this on their own versus using the QCash platform?”

The bottom line is, what we want from QCash Financial is everyone to deliver small-dollar lending.

Credit unions need to get back to our roots of where they began. Credit unions started by delivering small-dollar loans to their members, and we’ve gotten away from that over time. At the end of the day, we just want everyone to get back to providing for their members. Above all else, this is a means of really eliminating predatory lending. We know credit unions have a lot of things to think about with regulatory concerns, member implementability, and member need. If we can help make this an easier and quicker process to implement, then we would say, “That’s why you should use us.”

QCash has over 14 years of experience with running a small-dollar loan program, which we bring to the table to help credit unions manage their small-dollar loan programs. QCash wants to make sure it’s helping them in achieving their member goals, their mission goals, and their margin goals. We’ve specifically built that in as part of our program to create this platform for credit unions. That’s our differentiating factor.

Credit unions have delivered and created small-dollar loans since the beginning and are still doing that today. There’s one or two out there that are also doing what QCash is doing, but they haven’t added the automation parts of it. Leveraging that automation to lower the cost so that you can deliver this to a broader market is key.


The issue that we have today is that the solutions in the market aren’t scalable. You can’t deliver thousands of e-loans to the members that need it in the time that they need it with conventional underwriters and systems. It’s a slow process. Most systems right now are using traditional methods, they’re using underwriters, they’re pulling credit. Let’s just remember how many credit invisible, thin-file members with no credit, or thick-file people that truly need these loans will be excluded if we use credit score. It’s a great start but they need to advance to really serve the market. If they really want to get small-dollar loans to the consumers that need it, they need to change their method.

Members: “Thin File” or “Thick File”

This is a great first-time opportunity for thin files. A thin file is typically a member that possesses no credit as they stand currently. Thick file is someone who has probably gotten into a little bit of trouble and hasn’t been able to manage their finances adequately. They would possess quite a bit more credit than a thin file. Small-dollar loans are a great opportunity to pull them back into the fold and begin to coach them into being able to have access to more affordable financial services.

QCash Financial has seen firsthand some of the benefits for thin/thick-file clients. At WSECU, a number of members are millennials whose parents were members initially. Ideally, part of their first loan would come from QCash as a way to solve a problem of, “Hey, my car engine blew up, and I need a new car engine,” or, “Hey, I have this medical situation, a dental emergency that I need to attend to,” or “Hey, I have this pet emergency that I’ve got to solve.” QCash would be the means through which they receive the necessary funds to deal with these emergencies.

Typically, from a younger perspective, it’s one of those emergency situations that says, “Where do I get money from?” People first go to their family, but if that’s not there, they’ll use a QCash small-dollar loan to do that. That’s where the member service reps will educate them and inform them of the product availability.

Ultimately, the hope is that QCash Financial will be able to provide small-dollar lending to all credit unions because it is a safer and more efficient process that is easy to implement.

Read more here.

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Are QCash and Payday Loans the Same Thing?

QCash Loan or Payday Loans

July 26, 2018

Unexpected things come up in life. Car repairs, medical emergencies, and other expenses that must be taken care of seem to pop up at the worst time. Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck. While some people do have savings accounts, they may not have enough money saved to take care of a huge bill from the mechanic or emergency room. Many people will look for a short-term loan because they could have afforded to pay for the expense if it happened right after payday. They turn to payday lenders to get the money that they need. Many credit unions now offer two short-term loan products to their members to help them meet their needs: QCash and QCash Plus. Are QCash and payday loans the same thing? While they have some similarities, they are actually very different.

Both Designed to Meet Immediate Need for Cash

Payday loans and QCash products are both designed to help people with a very important problem: having the money they need to pay for what they need. Generally, payday lenders don’t care about how you plan to use the money. They care about whether you can pay it back on time. With QCash and QCash Plus, the application process is totally private. There is no question that asks credit union members why they need the money.

No Credit Checks

Another similarity between the two is that there’s no credit check. While there are some qualifications that must be met for either product, there’s no actual credit check. Generally, the qualifications involve the income coming into the household. This is often compared to current obligations. The purpose of reviewing a debt to income ratio, as it is called, is to analyze whether the recipient has the ability to repay the loan under the loan conditions.

While payday loans and QCash products have some similarities, they’re actually quite different. Here’s what you need to know.

Pay Day Lenders Are For-Profit Companies

A for-profit company is a company that is in business to make money. In and of itself, making a profit isn’t a bad thing. However, many payday lenders get into trouble over a concept known as “predatory lending.” This means that when they make these short-term loans to people, they’re doing so with terms that are harmful to the recipients. When people cannot pay their loans, many payday lenders may offer to renew the loan, but that also comes at a cost. Those extra fees can make it next to impossible for people to pay off what they owe. Most of those companies won’t accept a payment agreement that allows people to make payments each week or month to pay off what they owe. When people can’t pay, they could be called by employees or debt collectors who threaten to have them arrested. Such threats are against the law, but that doesn’t stop them from engaging in bad collection practices.

Credit Unions Are Not-For-Profit Companies

Credit unions are not-for-profit companies. This means that the money we make goes toward overhead. Overhead includes things like utilities, technology, paying our staff members, and creating better facilities for our members to use. Have you ever wondered why credit unions can offer such low-interest rates when compared to other financial or lending institutions? It’s because we’re not-for-profit.

Pay Day Loan Interest Rates Are Notoriously High

Would you accept a loan for a car if the only interest rate available was 400%? What about 800%? Although that seems like an outrageous question, it’s an important one. If you’re in the middle of a financial crisis, getting a payday loan could put you into a similar situation. Payday loans have notoriously high-interest rates that usually fall between 400 and 800%.

While desperate times may make you more open to getting the money you need at any cost, do the math. Even if you could have taken care of the unexpected expense on payday, could you afford it if it were 400% more expensive? For example, if you need $400, that might be doable on payday. Yet, 400% of $400 is $1,600.

If you need to renew a payday loan, you must pay a certain amount of money to do so. The interest on the original loan continues to build.

QCash Products Have Lower Interest Rates

When compared to payday loans, QCash products have much lower interest rates. With QCash, you pay $12 for every $100 you borrow. That breaks down to 12%. With QCash Plus, the interest rate is 36%. However, QCash Plus provides short-term loans between $701 and $4,000.

The Application Process with Pay Day Lenders

To take out a payday loan, you would visit a payday lender in your area. You’d need to take proof of residence, proof of income, and photo identification. While the process doesn’t take an extremely long time, it can still take an hour or two. Online payday lenders take time, too, although you can apply anytime. In a true emergency, you may not have the luxury of time.

Payday lenders generally give you cash or a check after you’re approved. If they give you a check, you’ll have to consider whether you can get it cashed. If’s it given to you in cash, you may have fewer issues.

The Application Process for QCash and QCash Plus

To apply for a QCash or QCash Plus short-term loan, credit union members can go through the application process at any time of the day or night through the QCash link on the credit union website. After completing the application process, most people receive a notification of approval within just a few seconds. Once approved, the money is automatically placed into your credit union account. There’s no waiting to cash a check.

To learn more about QCash or QCash Plus, contact us.

Learn more – DEMO and Blog

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What interest rate should a small dollar payday loan program charge?

small dollar payday loans

What interest rate should a small dollar payday loan charge? While the financial services industry and its regulators debate what is the right APR for short-term, small-dollar loans, Americans in need of relief wait. Their waiting comes with a cost – a big one. PEW Charitable Trusts estimates U.S. consumers spend $9 billion annually on small-dollar loan fees. There is a number already vetted that would encourage more institutions to offer short-term credit at reasonable rates for consumers in need: 36. It’s time to stack hands on 36% APR and start helping more consumers get out of the debt trap.

Many advocates are already on board with the concept.

The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) conducted research on how a 36% APR has legitimacy as a price point. They show that it would be a win-win for consumers offering access to affordable credit and would allow financial institutions to earn sustainable revenue to offer the loans.

Then there’s the FDIC pilot on small dollar payday loans that tested the 36% APR.  Additionally, the Center for Responsible Lending has stated its position that a 36% APR cap on payday loans most effectively stops the cycle of debt.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s most recent proposal would require lenders to underwrite payday and short-term small-dollar loans to ensure they are affordable to consumers. To avoid the stiffest requirements, such as assessing a borrower’s ability to repay a loan, installment lenders can opt for an alternative that effectively caps the rate at 36%.

Regulators state they want more lenders in the short-term loan market to help consumers; however, we already know the low success rate of expanding small-dollar lending at lower APRs. The NCUA allows for a 28 percent APR cap on small-dollar payday loans for federal credit unions, but it hasn’t generated much participation. In fact, fewer than 18 percent of credit unions offer these products today. The reason is that many justifiably believe they cannot create a financially sustainable short-term loan program with the 28 percent APR cap. That leaves tens of millions of credit union members lacking for a source of short-term credit without turning to predatory lenders.

The 36% APR is the sweet spot. And it’s already been tested and used for more than a decade. After all, it’s been the price point cap for small-dollar loans for military service members since 2006 as established by the U.S. Congress.

Yet here we remain in 2018 with no universal agreement on how to move forward in a balanced way. A 36% APR can work. Q-Cash Financial has delivered a fully automated digital small dollar lending platform for over 15 years to substantiate that a 36% APR is feasible. It’s feasible with the right automation. It’s feasible with the right underwriting criteria. It’s feasible with a true dedication to helping consumers caught in the struggle of everyday life.

As an industry, despite our best efforts and most polished mission statements, we often don’t fully understand the scarcity mindset of consumers caught trying to navigate their day-to-day financial lives. Helping cash-strapped consumers bridge a gap should be our calling as lenders, not just their problem as borrowers.

Let’s rally as an industry and collectively support a small dollar payday loan at 36% APR as the right way and the only way we are going to deploy a sustainable product that challenges the predatory lending marketplace to drive prices down for borrowers.

It’s time to speak out and support a 36% APR on short-term, small-dollar payday loans. Anything less, leaves millions of Americans with no other choice but to use predatory lenders.

July 16, 2018, by Ben Morales,  QCash CEO

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Outcomes Won’t Match Intentions: The NCUA Needs to Keep It Simple With Payday Alternative Loans (PALs)

Payday Alternative LoansThe third agenda item for the NCUA’s May Board Meeting is a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Part 701, Payday Alternative Loans” This discussion will focus on the following:

The NCUA is preparing an amendment to the NCUA’s general lending rule to provide federal credit unions (FCUs) with an additional option to offer Payday Alternative Loans (PALs). This proposal would not replace the current PALs rule, but rather would be an alternative, with differing terms and conditions, for FCUs to offer PALs to their members. Specifically, this proposal (PALs II) would differ from the current PALs rule by modifying the minimum and maximum amount of the loans, eliminating the minimum membership requirement, and increasing the maximum maturity for these loans. All other features of the current PALs rule would be incorporated into PALs II. The proposal would also pose specific questions to solicit comments and feedback from interested stakeholders on the possibility of creating a third alterative (PALs III), which could include differing fee structures, loan features, maturities, and loan amounts

While I’m happy to see the NCUA taking action on PALs, I’m equally concerned that our friends in Washington are making things a little too complicated.

Consumers are attracted to predatory lenders for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the simplicity of both the product and the process. If we want to pull members back from these lenders, we have to match them in simplicity. I can see no advantage to the member in creating multiple PAL options. In fact, I suspect having too many choices will drive members away from credit union short-term lending, back into the welcoming arms of the (very simple) predatory lenders.

Each small dollar loan tells a story that many of us have had to experience or can at least understand. If we can just take a moment to really understand the member journey and the use cases for when a small dollar loan is needed, the product requirements would be clear, simple and lead to common-sense regulation.

At QCash Financial we have seen credit unions confused on how to apply the PAL program in conjunction with the Military Lending Act (MLA) requirements. This confusion has led to lengthy compliance reviews and many legal opinions. Just imagine if we’re forced to reconcile multiple PAL options with the MLA. I predict that credit unions will opt out and not provide the service due to the risk of non-compliance. Credit unions will lose, and so will their members. This is exactly what happened to banks about 15-years ago when regulators were very prescriptive in their small dollar guidelines.

Let’s not add more complexity to a product that is clearly in the credit unions wheel house. I urge you to send a message to the NCUA to use a common-sense approach that is based on real feedback from those credit unions who are leaders in creating financial inclusion through their small dollar loan programs.

Vote for common sense regulation and make your thoughts known. Please join the discussion below.

May 30, 2018

by Ben Morales, QCash CEO

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The Importance of Promoting Financial Health and Employee Wellness

Financial Health and Employee Wellness

Many credit unions are responsible for the financial health and employee wellness of two employee groups: their own employees and the employees of their SEG sponsors. It only makes sense then that these credit unions should promote financial wellness among both employee groups. Financial hardship has a negative impact on employee productivity in the short-term, and eventually employees’ retirement preparedness. Employees without sufficient financial stability often turn to expensive payday loans to manage their cash flow issues, which eventually creates a cycle of debt that adversely impacts their productivity, morale and financial wellness. Credit unions are well positioned to take a leadership role in the financial wellness of both their own employees and their members.

Benefits to Credit Unions as Employers

Studies have shown that better financial wellness and employee wellness equate to increased productivity in the workplace. According to a recent study released by PwC, a quarter of U.S. workers said financial worries caused them health problems, 40% said finances distracted their work, and 15% said financial problems caused them to miss full or partial days of work.

Financial instability also impacts employees’ potential for retirement. In 2012, employees withdrew $70 billion from retirement accounts before reaching retirement age. This equates to 59 percent of employers’ matching dollars contributed to those accounts that same year. Even a one-year increase in retirement age costs employers about as much as sick and personal leave days combined. When credit unions promote employees’ short-term financial stability, it translates to cost savings when employees get closer to retirement.

What Can Credit Unions Do?

As providers of employee benefits, credit unions are viewed by their employees as trusted partners who can help them achieve financial wellness. Traditional workplace benefits programs are expanding to include new, complementary financial wellness approaches. These programs focus on foundational financial issues, such as budgeting, debt management, saving and investing, and protecting against key financial risks.

Credit unions may be familiar with offering SEGs paycheck advance programs, but many organizations are unable to support them. Alliances with trusted partners to offer employee small-dollar lending programs that provide an alternative to traditional payday lending can fill this need. More than 12 million Americans turn to payday loans annually, demonstrating a strong need for better solutions to these expensive products. Employees with access to instant liquidity solutions, such as inexpensive small-dollar loan products, are often able to budget and manage debt more effectively.

Defining These Goals
To reach financial wellness and employee wellness, consumers must first be in control of their day-to-day financial needs. This often involves creating monthly and annual budgets based on income and expenses, then limiting their expenditures to remain within the budget.

Controlling day-to-day needs also means consumers are financially prepared to cover an unexpected expense on short notice. Many times, a one-time unexpected expense of even a few hundred dollars can completely derail this financial stability, causing consumers to turn to payday lenders for their financial needs. Achieving important financial goals of saving or making the move from renting to owning a home can often get sidetracked by these unexpected expenses, which can be compounded by the cost of payday loans. This frequently causes the next unexpected expense to have an even more profound impact.

The final element of financial wellness is protecting against key financial risks, such as an economic downturn, the loss of a job or a serious illness, which is extremely difficult when consumers are living hand-to-mouth.

Short-term stability is an important element of an employee’s overall financial wellness. Employees with access to small-dollar lending solutions through their trusted credit unions have better opportunities to manage their short-term financial goals, which enables them to achieve long-term financial goals. As financially stable individuals, employees are better equipped to focus on work and can retire on time. Small-dollar lending is an important part of this equation and can have a profound impact on employees’ financial health.

May 29, 2018 By Ben Morales, QCash CEO

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How do the new CFPB regulations impact the QCash Financial platform and credit unions?

What are the new CFPB regulations for small dollar loans and payday lending for credit unions?

In late 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) finalized new regulations for small-dollar loans and payday lending.

QCash, a subsidiary of Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU), has engaged in conversations throughout the process, including WSECU President & CEO, Kevin Foster-Keddie who participated in the CFPB credit union roundtable. Foster-Keddie provided feedback to CFPB and shared the QCash experiences about short-term, small-dollar lending concepts as it applies to credit union members.

For QCash, the involvement in the new rule formation has been essential to understanding the impact on the platform and credit unions…

New CFPB Small-Dollar Loan Rule for Non-Covered LoansCFPB Regulation

The new small-dollar loan rule provides more regulatory guidance around non-covered and covered loans to borrowers who may be unable to pay the high fees typically attached with payday loans. CFPB cites that payday loans often force borrowers into another, short-term loan with an inability to pay, calling this process a “debt trap” for consumers.

Credit unions, however, have long provided members with Payday Alternative Loan (PAL) programs. These short-term, small-dollar loans are less costly for members than traditional payday lending.

The new CFPB rule provides a safe harbor for programs like the QCash financial platform and its non-covered loans, making it exempt from added regulatory burdens.

What is a Non-Covered Loan?

The CFPB defines a non-covered loan with an annual percentage rate (APR) of less than 36% and repayment terms that are greater than 45 days. These non-covered loans are exempt from additional regulations.

Covered loans (parameters greater than non-covered loans) will require supporting documentation from the institution, mostly focused on the borrower’s ability to repay.

QCash Automation Provides Compliance Assurance

QCash, developed before new CFPB regulations, is based on the premise that automation is necessary to deliver short-term, small-dollar loans. QCash’s automated workflow provides flexibility for credit unions to establish the methodology they choose and configure the options they want to include. The QCash financial platform also provides an all-in-one system for required documentation.

Although the new rule doesn’t impact QCash, the financial platform supports all applicable CFPB requirements. Credit unions have the assurance that QCash provides everything needed to continue to offer compliant, short-term, small-dollar loans to its members.

May 17, 2018

by Ben Morales, QCash CEO

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How do I update my Payday Loan truth in lending disclosures?

A question I often receive from credit unions involves regulatory concerns in operating payday loan truth in lending requirements. Credit Unions often want to know how small dollar loan Truth inPayday Loan Truth in Lending Lending disclosures are updated and maintained in our Digital Lending Platform.   If you have this concern – then this article is for you!

First – what is payday loan truth in lending?   Lenders must provide a Truth in Lending (TIL) disclosure statement that includes information about the amount of your loan, the annual percentage rate (APR), finance charges (including application fees, late charges, prepayment penalties), a payment schedule and the total repayment amount over the lifetime of the loan.

With QCash Financial, our small dollar loan platform includes the ability to update and upload your own payday loan Truth in Lending disclosures. The Truth in Lending regulations guide much of the basis for QCash as a means of keeping the system legal and usable option for credit unions. For the sake of transparency, we make that information available to credit unions.

We offer the ability to loan to military borrowers, thus opening the door for QCash to be used for military borrowing and opening up an entirely new facet of the business we hadn’t tapped into prior. This additional resource allows for a wider range to be covered by what QCash offers. Offering payday lending to military borrowers let’s QCash expand its business far beyond our previous limitations.

We also have e-signature compliance guidelines in place that we offer through our platform, along with automatic repayment set up when the loan is booked and funded to the member’s account. E-signature requirements provide a level of security within QCash transactions. This can further guarantee the convenience of using QCash for credit unions. Automatic repayments meet the regulation requirements while also providing a level of convenience for credit unions. The automatic repayment system saves credit unions the trouble of organizing the repayment of small-dollar loans. With the automated QCash system, they no longer have to take time to setup these repayments.

By incorporating Payday Loan Truth in Lending documentation, we make it easy as we can for credit unions to follow the legal regulations set in place. QCash allows for credit unions to incorporate payday lending without any worry in regards to falling in line with regulations.

by Heidi Tinsley, QCash Director of Client Success

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What is a digital lending platform?

When I tell people that QCash is a digital lending platform, they often ask what I mean by that. Here are a few highlights:

In short, a digital lending platform like QCash leverages social, mobile, data analytics and the cloud to create a lending process that’s efficient for the financial institution and easy for the borrower.

When we first started developing the QCash small dollar lending platform, there was a lot of paper involved. We knew we had to do better because all around us, mobile was exploding and so-called fintech companies were focusing on new ways to harness data analytics and the cloud.

These fintechs were focused on tapping into social capabilities. We looked at that and said, “That’s something we need to emulate. We need to bring that into our product if we’re going to make it affordable, scalable and be able to adapt and evolve in a way driven by the future needs of our members.” Because of this, we chose to prioritize the cloud and mobile financial technology.

For the first few years, this product lost money. Not very many of our members at WSECU used it. It was too much of a hassle in its earlier iterations. There were two primary causes of this:

1. A lot of people were involved. This overloaded the process and made us realize we needed a more automated system.
2. It was a long process that required quite a bit of back and forth between the member and our staff.

Because of this long process, we began to evolve the platform to be much more streamlined. We did this through the establishment of Digital Lending Platformfurther automated underwriting processes. This, in turn, cut out the need for so much employee involvement.

Essentially, that’s how I characterize a digital lending platform. Its focuses are social, mobile analytics and the cloud. When you get all of these working in concert, you can create a system that truly benefits both the credit union and its members.

May 3, 2018
by Ben Morales, QCash CEO

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What is a small dollar loan?

If you think credit unions and banks should only make large dollar loans because small dollar loans are too inefficient – then this post is NOT for you!   However, if you think you are missing a key segment or want to help your members day to day – then read this post to learn about small dollar loans!

QCash – Small Dollar Loan Basics

Life is full of surprises. Unfortunately, some of those surprises are more expensive than others. QCash loans were designed to help consumers with life’s unexpected expenses.

QCash – Small Dollar loans are convenient.

Applying for a QCash loan is fast and easy using our online application process. In many cases, you can find out whether you’ve been approved in just a few seconds. This speedy process helps to minimize the uncertainty that comes along with any unexpected expense.

QCash – Small Dollar loans are flexible.

Unlike, for example, an auto loan, a QCash loan can be used for any purpose you want. If your car breaks down between paydays, QCash is there. If your pet is injured and requires an emergency visit to the veterinarian, QCash is there. We never ask about the purpose of the loan, so your privacy is ensured.

QCash – Small Dollar loans are affordable.

QCash provides the convenience of a payday loan, but with friendlier terms. While QCash and payday loans have a couple of things in common, QCash loans are much less expensive. Plus, you have the comfort of dealing with a financial institution that you already know and trust. Just for comparison’s sake, a typical payday loan costs the consumer $15-$30 for every $100 borrowed. On the other hand, a QCash loan costs $10-$12 for every $100 borrowed. That difference can really add up.

QCash – Small Dollar Loans are designed to help consumers.Small Dollar Loans

Payday lenders are in business to make as much money as possible from the people they lend money to. Yes, they may provide money when you need it, but as noted earlier, it’s very expensive money.

QCash loans are offered by your credit union. Because credit unions are not-for-profit, member-owned financial institutions, they’re goal is not to maximize profits. On the contrary, their goal is to help members meet their financial needs. And when those needs are sudden, QCash is the ideal alternative to a predatory payday loan.

QCash – Small Dollar Loans meet a variety of needs.

In addition to a standard QCash loan, we also offer a QCash Plus loan. QCash loans range from $50 to $700, with no credit check. These loans are instantly funded and, unlike payday loans, you have a 60-day repayment period. With a standard QCash loan, you pay just $12 per $100 borrowed.

QCash Plus loans are for amounts from $701 to $4,000. Much like QCash, there’s no credit check. However, there is a $25 application fee. Instead of paying $12 for every $100 you borrow, you pay an interest rate of 36%. That’s significantly less than the triple-digit interest rates that payday lenders charge. These loans are also funded instantly, but the repayment term depends on the amount borrowed.

QCash Plus can help you break the payday loan cycle.

It may sound odd, but QCash Plus can even help you get out of debt. Unfortunately, many consumers get stuck in a cycle of renewing their payday loans week after week, month after month. However, a QCash Plus loan may provide you with enough money to meet your short-term financial needs and pay off other outstanding debt.

QCash – Small Dollar loans are easy to apply for.

The QCash loan application is quick and easy to complete. Because we know life happens outside of credit union hours, we’ve designed a simple online application process available right on the credit union’s website. Just fill out the required information and submit the application. You’ll typically get a decision within a few seconds. And if you’re approved for QCash or QCash Plus, you’ll get instant funding into your credit union account.

QCash – Small Dollar loans are available 24/7.

With QCash and QCash Plus, credit union members get convenience, speed, and flexibility literally at their fingertips. To learn more about QCash products and how they may be able to help you in an emergency, talk with your credit union representative or simply apply on the credit union’s website today.

April 30, 2017

by Ann Flannigan, Vice President of Human Resources, WSECU

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What are the Benefits of Credit Union Payday Lending?

People sometimes ask me, “Why did you get into payday lending?” In fact, I’ve had people ask me why I was crazy enough to get into payday lending.  If you think your members have a need for small dollar loans – this blog covers the benefits of credit union payday lending!

The reason is member need. At WESCU, we noticed that members were transferring large amounts of money to payday lenders. It was over a million dollars a year, and that was 15 years ago. It’s even more today.

Benefits of Credit Union Payday Lending: For the Member

The more we studied it, the more we learned how expensive it was. We learned that people were being trapped in payday lending. So we said, “Hey. We’re a credit union. We’ll make small loans.”

Credit unions, philosophically, started by making small loans to average people; so, we decided this is was the direction to go. Fortunately for us, we had a board member whose brother was a pawn shop owner. He was very, very connected to the industry, knew a lot about it, and was instrumental in the organization of this project. He convinced the other board members it was a good idea.

We definitely had our share of naysayers. But I’m a persistent fellow and the more that people said, “You are crazy. You shouldn’t be doing this,” the more I said, “I’m going to show you guys.”

At first, it was a paper-based and very labor intensive process. We were trying to help our members find a better and cheaper alternative, and then later mainstream them into more traditional lending. Eventually, we got better and better at it. We hired the right people and we started on the project. We made it faster. We got it onto a computer. Then, we added mobile technology. We realized, as we watched the activity of our QCash loans, that speed was everything.

Benefits of Credit Union Payday Lending: For the CEO

If you’re a CEO who is thinking about QCash, your job is to serve your members. With QCash, you may be targeting a market that youPayday Lending don’t traditionally serve, and that’s going to open up a lot of possibilities for you. QCash will help your organization learn about technology, data analytics, mobile technology and product design. The kind of competencies an organization will learn go far beyond the actual business results of the payday lending.

And then there’s the bonus that Qcash accounts for 20% of WSECU’s net income. You must think about small dollar loans from a business perspective as well.

Payday lending has been a great thing for us and our staff. They feel like they’ve got another tool with which they can help members. Our dream is to put all these together in a cash management electronic product, and we’re working on that dream very hard right now. We want to put all these ideas together into one global product.

Qcash helps WSECU members with their needs today. And, it enables us to be constantly pushing the use of technology to speed up, digitally engage and lower the cost of helping our members. That’s a very convincing business proposition.

By Kevin Foster-Keddie, CEO of WSECU
April 26, 2018

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