NEW ORLEANS -- In his keynote address at the opening session of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions' Serving the Underserved Conference, NCUA Vice Chairman Rodney Hood pointed out that June is National Homeownership Month and encouraged credit unions to increase homeownership among the underserved.
Hood outlined some simple things credit unions can do to serve the underserved and ensure homebuyers remain homeowners. Hood commented, "from an economic standpoint, lifting homeownership rates for all Americans has never been more important. Owning a home is the foundation of wealth creation for families and is their quickest path to self-sufficiency." While homeownership is at an all-time high, it is still a struggle for low-to-
moderate income households.
There is a clear connection between homeownership and building strong communities, Hood observed. "I am passionate about economic empowerment for all Americans, and for all communities. I believe that homeownership--not just buying a home, but staying in the home--is the key to building wealth and creating strong, viable, and sustainable
communities," he said.
To get low-income people into--and keep them in--their own homes, Hood continued, "The answer, I believe, lies in our ability to take our message directly to the communities and educate our members about homeownership, including pre-purchase and post-purchase counseling." Credit unions should be results-oriented with methods of measuring success, create strategic partnerships with community stakeholders, and conduct outreach programs. "The programs I know that are most effective require face to face counseling, as opposed to self study or telephone counseling," he recommended.
While down South, Hood also visited the NeighborWorks America Homeownership Center and met with Manager Ron Usner and NeighborWorks America Louisiana State Representative James Ross. He touted organizations such as NeighborWorks America and Operation Hope as examples of solid credit union partnerships.