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AFAS Falcon Loan, easy as 1, 2, 3

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- "The process for the Falcon Loan was very simple...it literally only took 20 minutes and I had the check in my hand!"

This testimonial sounds very similar to one that may be used by high-interest pay day loan agencies, but it's actually the words of Staff Sgt. William Stauffer, Detachment 4, 18th Intelligence Squadron, who recently used the Air Force Aid Society's Falcon Loan.

The Falcon Loan is a loan of $500 or less that can be used for emergency needs such as basic living expenses (rent, utilities, food), car repairs, emergency travel or other approved needs (day care, Respite Care, etc.). The streamlined application process for a Falcon Loan requires no budget information, backup documentation or first sergeant/commander approval which is opposite from the normal emergency assistance loan process.

Sergeant Stauffer used the Falcon Loan to help with expenses related to a family emergency. During this time, he had just recently moved his family into a new house and the costs of it all became overwhelming.

"I found out about the Falcon Loan at the Airman and Family Readiness Center when I went to apply for Air Force Aid," said Sergeant Stauffer. "I would highly, highly, suggest the Falcon Loan. For me personally, it was used for a family emergency. Obviously there are other kinds of emergencies out there, but it's basically an interest free loan."

According to Pauline Madison, 48th Mission Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center AFAS officer, getting a Falcon loan is as easy as 1, 2, 3 and was designed by AFAS headquarters personnel and modeled after the success of our sister military branches.

"The goal is to create a rapport and a feeling of openness with the Airmen and their families to rely on us, the A&FRC, during their time of crises and for their emergency financial needs. We hope to discourage them from going to high-interest payday lenders who charge inordinate interest rates for quick cash," she said. "It makes absolute sense to come to us; our loans are interest free; why would you seek assistance elsewhere and make them a profit?"

According to Ms. Madison, Airmen can receive two Falcon Loans within their career. However, the stipulation is that they pay off the first Falcon Loan prior to applying for the second.

A Falcon Loan must be paid back within three to 10 months, or if the member is separating from the military, prior to separation. The Falcon Loan is a complement to the Society's standard emergency assistance loan/grant program. Receiving a Falcon Loan does not make Airmen ineligible to receive a standard Air Force Aid Society loan/grant while they are repaying their Falcon Loan.

"I would absolutely encourage people to donate to the AFAF to help with programs like the Falcon Loan," Sergeant Stauffer said. "I think it's always better to give than receive and at the time when I needed the Falcon Loan I thanked God for those people that donated to the AFAF. They made it possible to take care of our family emergency."

Airmen can donate to the AFAS, the Air Force Enlisted Village, the Air Force Village Foundation and the General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation during the Air Force Assistance Fund Campaign, which runs through May 3.

Lakenheath AFAF points of contact
Installation Project Officer, Capt. Benjamin Martin
Alt Installation Project Officer, 2nd Lt. Kristine Baldwin
Wing Staff Agencies, Senior Airman Stephanie Weaver
48th Operations Group, Master Sgt. Darlene CurlĀ 
48th Medical Group, Capt. Jana Weiner
48th Mission Support Group, 2nd Lt. Sarah Williford
48th Maintenance Group, 2nd Lt. Art Davidson