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The California league is putting credit unions in the five California counties hit recently by wildfires in touch with High Desert FCU, which has a construction loan program already in place.

Apple Valley, Calif.-based High Desert is making the loans available to other credit unions in Southern California. The rate for a construction loan from the Apple Valley-based credit union is 3.99% for 12 months. Members also pay interest only on the disbursed amount of the loan.

Under the program, the member hires a contractor to perform the construction. HDFCU vets the contractor and issues him a book of vouchers, which subcontractors redeem through HDFCU for payment. Through a process of inspecting the property every two weeks with an independent general contractor, HDFCU takes care of paying all subcontractors, as well as the tax reporting on behalf of the contractor.

The program is designed for those not fully insured, and those who want to upgrade. In addition, homeowners who were fully insured can have the CU administer disbursement of funds while their new home is being built.

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