NORTH CHICAGO-Great Lakes CU here has launched a no-credit-check loan for members in need of quick cash.

The CU's "Cash-In-A-Flash" program offers loans of up to $500, paid back over a nine-month term at 17.90%, along with a $30 application fee. Applicants must have been a member at Great Lakes for at least one year, with an account in good standing, including one year on the job with direct deposit.

"We saw the need for people that need some quick cash, especially in these times, and we came up with this promotion to make it available to them without a credit check, as long as they were a member in good standing," said John Skul, marketing manager at the 41,000-member, $559-million credit union.

Since "Cash-In-A-Flash" was launched in January, GLCU has made more than 300 such loans for a total of $131,000. As of its March 2012 Call Report, Great Lakes had more than 19,000 loans and leases on its books for a total of $328 million.

Skul said that Great Lakes has seen an increase in requests for smaller personal loans, and in addition to "Cash-In-A-Flash" it offers a "Spring Into Action" loan that ranges from $500 to $2,500 at 12.9%. That loan is the go-to product for members that need more money than "Cash-In-A-Flash" can provide or those who are put off by the 17.90% rate.

GLCU offers that product each quarter, generally with a seasonally appropriate theme. Previous incarnations have included the "Winter Wonderland" loan, though the amount available, underwriting criteria and rate structure generally remain the same with each new offering.

Back On Your Feet

For members who need a little extra help, GLCU has created the "Back on Your Feet Duo," which includes the "Cash-In-A-Flash" loan paired with Great Lakes' "Fresh-Start Checking." That checking offering is structured as a second chance program for members who have previously had their checking privileges revoked.

Skul did not have data available on how many members had signed up for the "Back on Your Feet Duo." The CU is advertising both products via its website, newsletter, radio spots and word of mouth referrals, which Skul said are the largest source of loans.

GLCU has not placed a cap on the overall amount it will lend to members as part of the loan promotion, and Skul said that the CU will run it indefinitely, "unless we start finding that people are declining on the loan or not being able to pay it back in the nine-month period."

Skul did not have data available on delinquencies, but he said that "it's doing very well and people have been responding to it, and are diligent about making payments on it."

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