ST. PAUL, Minn. (May 02, 2017)
– Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union has introduced a bicycle loan for members statewide so that they can purchase better-quality bicycles and accompanying accessories.
Officials note the new loan – with amounts ranging from $500 to $5,000 – taps into an ever-growing interest in using the two-wheeled vehicles for transportation and recreation.
Affinity Plus’ bicycle loan also debuts on the heels of a new University of Minnesota study that notes Minnesota’s bicycling industry in 2014 produced an estimated $780 million of economic activity, created more than 5,500 jobs and saved millions in healthcare costs.
“Minnesota is amazing in how it recognizes the value of and supports bicyclists, no matter if they’re biking to work, riding for fitness, for the environment, or just for fun,” said Corey Rupp, vice president of consumer lending. “Affinity Plus is pleased to provide a way for people of all ages and interest levels to afford and purchase quality bicycles.”
QUALITY AND SAFETY
The loan launched for members in late April, Rupp said. Terms can be for up to 36 months, and financing can be for up to 120 percent of the bicycle’s purchase price so that members can purchase accessories including helmets; locks; front and rear lights; and more.
Ben Hering, Affinity Plus business development specialist, said the loan begins at $500 because “bike experts we’ve partnered with around the Twin Cities tell us a quality bike can last years if it’s well taken care of. We want to encourage members to consider their new bicycles an investment, and service them regularly and locally.”
Alex Tsatsoulis, development and communications director for the Minneapolis Bicycling Coalition, said bicycles are an “affordable and important way” for many to travel around the Twin Cities, especially because bicycles don't come with the high price tag or ongoing costs of automobile ownership.
“It's great to see a local community financial institution creating avenues for bicycle ownership, and recognizing the important role they can play in making people financially independent,” Tsatsoulis said.
ROLLING WITH THE COMMUNITY
Hering said Affinity Plus’ bicycle loan may be new, but the credit union has been responding to bicyclists’ needs for some time, especially around bike-friendly Twin Cities.
In 2014, Affinity Plus designated a traditional automobile drive-thru lane at the University branch as a “bike-thru” lane. It’s now a commonplace sight there to see bicyclists ride up to complete transactions alongside cars and trucks, he said.
It’s also routine to see more and more bicycles throughout the Twin Cities. That same University of Minnesota study notes from 2007 to 2016, bicycle ridership in Minneapolis grew 49 percent. In its busiest locations, nearly 3,600 bicyclists pass by daily. And the busiest biking intersection in Minnesota? Just a mile from Affinity Plus’ University branch, Hering said.
“Minnesota is in the midst of a biking revolution, and Affinity Plus is taking it to heart. Our new bicycle loan is just another example of that,” he said.