Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 16th, 2008 at 4:58 pm
Portland-based Unitus Community Credit Union has announced the creation of a bike loan program.
According to Tracy Streebel, business development officer with Unitus, the new Bicycle Loan will allow any member of the credit union to borrow money to put toward the use of a bicycle or any related accessories (like cargo trailers, components, etc…).
“I wanted to find a way to improve the health of our community and I realized the bike community would be a great place to start.”
The Bicycle Loan will be offered at a fixed-rate of 7.999% APY for a 12 month term with a minimum of loan amount of $250 and a maximum of $2,500 — just the right price for that custom bike you’ve been drooling over.
To create awareness for the product, Unitus will use a network of “preferred dealers” — bike shops that have been authorized by Unitus to offer the loan. Streebel says she has already set up relationships with Sellwood Cycle Repair, Seven Corners, and custom bike builder Sweetpea Bicycles.
Streebel welcomes interest from other bike shops interested in the program. You can contact her at TStreebel [at] unitusccu [dot] com.
Several months ago, Streebel contacted individuals and groups in the bike community, hoping to “build relationships and figure out some of the community’s needs.”
The idea for the loan first came up during conversations between Streebel and Angela Koch, director of the Safe Routes to Schools program for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.
“During a meeting with Angela, we were talking about kids and how Unitus tries to teach them financial literacy,” says Streebel, “and Angela told me about their Walk and Bike to school programs. Eventually, she asked if we had a bike loan program.”
After that, Streebel took the idea and pitched it to the upper management at Unitus. “They’ve been supportive of it all along and I’m amazed at how quickly it’s gone through development to reach the point where it’s nearly ready to launch.”
To be eligible for the Unitus Bicycle Loan, you must be a member of Unitus, live and/or work in one of seven surrounding counties (Clark, Yamhill, Marion, Polk, Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington), have $5 in a savings account at all times, and have a checking account with direct deposit and automatic payment.
Unitus will have an informational table at the BTA’s Walk and Bike Challenge event on June 8th and they will be ready to accept applications at BicycleLoan.com by early summer.