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New program helps Airmen avoid payday loans

By Master Sgt. Jon Hanson | Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs | March 7, 2008

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Team Randolph Airmen in need now have an interest-free alternative to high-interest payday loan establishments. 

The Air Force Aid Society has started a new quick loan program called Falcon Loan, which began Monday. 

The Falcon Loan is a loan of $500 or less that can be used for emergency needs such as basic living expenses (rent, utilities, food), car repairs, emergency travel or other approved needs. 

The program is available to active-duty Air Force members, or spouses with a power of attorney, stationed at an Air Force base with an Airman and Family Readiness Center. Individuals cannot have a current AFAS loan. Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard members activated on Title 10 orders at the time of application are also eligible for a Falcon Loan. 

The member is required to repay the loan within 10 months or by their expiration of term of service, if less than 10 months. 

Steve Mayfield, Randolph A&FRF community readiness consultant, said base members interested in a Falcon Loan can talk with an A&FRF readiness consultant. 

Applicants only need to bring the AFAS Financial Assistance Application (available at www.afas.org or the A&FRC), an Air Force ID card and current Leave and Earnings Statement. Air Force Reserve and ANG members need to bring a copy of their Title 10 United States Code orders and a voided check. 

Mr. Mayfield said the Falcon Loan gives Team Randolph members a chance to get their financial situation in order without going further into debt. 

"The Falcon Loan has zero percent interest," he said. "Base members will be able to follow up with a financial counselor who will assess their current financial situation and assist them in enhancing their financial readiness posture so they won't have to use another loan in the future." 

"We put a lot of thought into changing the application process to make it more streamlined and efficient," said Jim Delaney, AFAS chief operating officer and retired Air Force colonel. 

Another big push was to make the process unobtrusive. Individuals aren't required to get their commander's or first sergeant's approval. 

"We think this is an important part so people don't think this will affect their careers," Mr. Delaney said. 

"The Falcon Loan is a great new program for Airmen in need," said Gen. William Looney III, Air Education and Training Command commander. "This gives every Airman - enlisted and officer - a means to avoid high-interest payday loan places. The Air Force Aid Society has made it simple for Airmen to get the interest-free money they need for emergencies." 

For more information on the Falcon Loan or other AFAS assistance, call the A&FRC at 652-5321 or visit the AFAS Web site at www.afas.org.