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EL PASO, Texas – In a White House meeting room late last month, the quiet voice of Harriet May – President and CEO, Government Employees Credit Union – spoke volumes for credit unions across America, echoing their daily challenges of offering and providing financial services to the growing swell of undocumented persons living and working in the United States. As the sole credit union manager meeting with the White House staff, May was summoned to the meeting along with Vice President of the World Council of Credit Unions, Lucy Ito; CUNA General Counsel, Eric Richard; CUNA Associate General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Mary Dunn; CUNA Senior Vice President for Legislative Affairs, John McKechnie; Arizona Credit Union League President Gary Plank; and Vice President of the California Credit Union League, Kim Bannon. In what May described as “a productive meeting about issues important to credit unions, their members and potential members,” May, Flank and Bannon briefed the White House representatives on the practicalities of serving undocumented workers. Ito addressed International Remittance Network (IRnet)-the credit unions’ service of wiring money internationally-and a vital concern for workers here who are providing for their families living in other countries. The meeting was convened, May said, with a White House charge to the credit union representatives to go back to their offices, put together lists of specifics on the different issues surfacing daily in addressing the financial needs of undocumented workers in this country. “and get back to them promptly.” May serves as Chair of the Texas/Mexico Relations Task Force of the Texas Credit Union League. Heading one of the largest credit unions in the El Paso border area, she works daily in one of the country’s heaviest population concentrations of undocumented workers – most of whom have never had access to financial institutions and more who have carried across the border a learned distrust of financial institutions. Other representatives at last week’s White House meeting were National Credit Union Administration representatives: Kirk Cuevas, executive assistant to NCUA Acting Board Chairman Dennis Dollar; Robert Fenner, NCUA general counsel; and Nick Owens, special assistant to Chairman Dollar for public affairs. White House staffers were: Philippa (Pippa) Malmgren and Carlos Bonilla, special assistants to the president for economic policy; Diana Schact, special assistant for domestic policy; and Barry Jackson, director, White House strategic initiatives. [email protected]

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