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svdp_logo_usaCan ground-up “banking for the poor” work in the United States? In Belleville, Ill., a Society of St. Vincent de Paul council thinks micro-financing, pioneered by Nobel prize winner Mohammed Yunus, can.

According to the National Catholic Reporter…

The council wanted to address the needs of the working poor, specifically by addressing payday loans. “These loans are really nothing more than legalized thievery,” said Pat Hogrebe, development director of the Belleville St. Vincent de Paul council.

Hogrebe’s council committee, Voice of the Poor, wanted to create an alternative to payday loans by creating a loan program that charges just 3 percent interest, and offers a flexible repayment schedule and finance education.

To get the program funded, the committee reached out to St. Vincent de Paul conferences — local groups usually attached to a parish and who work with a diocesan-wide council — and asked for funding and marketing support for this new loan program.

With $15,000 from conference donations, the St. Vincent de Paul council approached another organization, the Catholic and Community Credit Union, for help in implementing the program.

The origins of the Catholic and Community Credit Union would make Yunus proud.

For more on this hopeful story …

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Belleville, Ill.

Catholic and Communtiy Credit Union

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