MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Sky-high interest payday loans are getting some more affordable competition in the Twin Cities area from community-based organizations.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that Exodus Lending is one nonprofit offering residents interest-free loans to help pay off debts. Exodus Executive Director Sara Nelson-Pallmeyer says the organization has helped about 200 borrowers since April 2015.

Me’Lea Connelly poses for a portrait in her office in North Minneapolis on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. Connelly is director of development at Village, a proposed community development financial cooperative. Her organization currently helps people who are in trouble with payday loans and predatory lending. Her product, the New Day Loan helps people who need loans pay off payday loans with lower interest rates. (Tony Saunders /Minnesota Public Radio via AP)

Village Financial Cooperative plans to open a credit union next year. Village Financial development director Me’Lea Connelly says the credit union’s goal is to increase access to banking services, including low-cost, short-term, small loans.

There are at least five credit unions in Minnesota that already make small-dollar or auto loans to people wouldn’t normally quality for a loan.

Payday lenders argue that high interest rates are necessary to make small loans worthwhile.

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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org