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August 2011Vol 2, Issue 8
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TOGETHER
We can make a difference
Message From
Executive Director

 

Change...it's inevitable. The MCUCD team sees changes each year when we say goodbye to our departing AmeriCorps*VISTA members and say hello to the new members. After just a few short weeks I'm already impressed with the focus and energy that Jami, William, and Dan bring to our team.

 

Another change we've seen recently is the "for lease" and "for sale" signs popping up next to buildings where payday loan businesses used to occupy across Montana. That's because of the recent Montana law change that restricted payday loans to 36%. We've also seen a significant increase in affordable small loans made by Montana credit unions.

 

Does this mean the end of predatory payday lending in Montana? Unfortunately, no. Learn more about how internet payday lending is infiltrating our state and what you can do about it in MCUCD's Consumer Topic of the Month. MCUCD and the Montana Department of Financial Institutions will make a joint presentation on this issue at the upcoming Montana Financial Education Coalition Statewide Conference in Billings on September 21. We'd love to see you there!

 

Jeanne Saarinen

In This Issue
Making a Difference
Free Tax Services
August Consumer Topic
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Making A Difference

 

AmeriCorps*VISTA Members Continue to Serve
With Montana's Credit Unions

MCUCD's four VISTA members in the office

The MCUCD team of AmeriCorps*VISTA members pose for the camera. Dan, Thor, and William stand behind Jami.

MCUCD welcomed three new VISTA members at the end of July -- Dan O'Brien, Jami Kirksey, and William Ames. With the addition of these three talented young individuals, the number of VISTA members serving with MCUCD jumps to 19 over the past six years. 

 

VISTA members spend their year in service working to create and expand programs that build capacity and ultimately bring low-income individuals out of poverty. The AmeriCorps*VISTA members have become an integral part of the MCUCD team. 

 

Over the course of the next year, Dan will be working on the Consumer Resource Centers, Jami will focus on MCUCD program evaluation, and William will be serving in Butte focusing on program expansion. The three new members join Thor Kasenko who serves as an Outreach VISTA in Billings.

Help Promote Free Tax Services
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It's time to start thinking about promoting VITA and MontanaFreeFile through inserts and posters. This year, we've streamlined the process so that you can order recruitment and site promotional materials all at once. The materials are free, so please consider sending both the recruitment and site promotional inserts to the members/clients you serve as well as displaying the corresponding posters in your offices. Click here for more information and to order materials. Volunteer recruitment starts in mid-September, so orders must be placed with Rachael Milne by September 2.

Consumer Topic of the Month
 
CRC GraphicResponsible Lending and
Emergency Funds

 

In November 2010, Montanans voted to cap annual interest rates on payday loans and car titles loans at 36%. However, payday lenders are still attempting to trap Montanans in a debt cycle with internet payday loans. Internet payday loans with interest rates exceeding the 36% cap are illegal in Montana.

 

Visit the Consumer Topic of the Month for more information and resources to understand how you can help members/clients avoid the high cost, internet payday loans.