There are few affordable short-term, small-dollar credit products in the marketplace that meet borrowers’ immediate needs and that help put them on a path toward financial prosperity. Consequently,many low-income underbanked consumers turn to high-interest payday loans, often to the detriment of their financial well-being.

MACED, through its Common Cents Financial Initiative and Save It! Loan, introduced in May 2007, spent more than two years testing a potentially scalable alternative to payday lending particularly suited to rural communities. In addition to providing emergency credit, the program connected borrowers with other financial services to help them save, build assets, and break out of the cycle of debt.

In August 2009, MACED canceled the program. Although MACED had made over 400 loans and helped many borrowers address short-term credit needs, the loan product was not viable in its existing form to either MACED or the financial institution partner, Appalachian Federal CreditUnion (AFCU).