There's always more to discover with an AARP membership! Check out your member benefits.
by David Dudley, AARP The Magazine, January/February 2009 issue
Martin Eakes bet his career on a contrarian notion: poor people can be better at borrowing money than the rich. His Durham, North Carolina, community credit union, Self-Help, serves a clientele of classic credit risks—low-income families, single mothers. The loss rate for Self-Help’s so-called “toxic” borrowers? Less than 1 percent. “If I have a choice between making a loan to a rich person or one to a poor person, solely on grounds of credit risk, I’ll pick a poor person every time,” says Eakes, 54. “They simply take care of their debts better.” Since Eakes started Self-Help in 1984, it has provided more than $5.24 billion in financing to 60,130 homebuyers, small businesses, and nonprofits. In 1999 he led the battle for North Carolina’s pioneering anti-predatory-lending law and, as early as 2002, warned federal legislators that corrupt financial practices had set the scene for a massive wave of foreclosures. He’s now battling to make sure that the Great Subprime Meltdown doesn’t further victimize the most vulnerable. “We’ve got proof that families of limited financial means will be incredibly great borrowers if given the chance,” he says. “And there’s no one who can convince me otherwise.”
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Members save up to $100 per person on select guided tours.
Members save 15% all day, every day at participating locations.
Members save 15% on in-store purchases of frozen yogurt, treats and apparel.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at