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ORLANDO,Fla.-America’s federal credit unions are expanding service to underserved and low-income communities at an unprecedented pace, according to NCUA Acting Chairman Dennis Dollar. Appearing on a Web cast at the NAFCU Annual Convention, the Dollar said that in the first six-months of this year, there have been more than 4.9 million potential new credit union members located in underserved communities than ever before. He credited the agency’s streamlined application process, of which he has been a key supporter. “These positive numbers are early indicators of the success that the streamlined approach this Board put in place is having as it facilitates credit union expansion into underserved areas, most of which are designated low-income communities,” Dollar said in a statement. “I am convinced that a more efficient process with an enhanced emphasis on extension of service to underserved communities is resulting in more Americans having a credit union as a low-cost alternative to predatory lenders in their neighborhoods.” NCUA released numbers last week crediting credit unions with having adopted 97 underserved communities with a total population of 4.9 million, just six months into the year. During all of 2000, credit unions only expanded into a total of 50 areas meeting the underserved criteria with a population of 2.3 million. “It is encouraging to see the growing number of credit unions reaching out to provide affordable financial services for these communities who need it so badly,” the NCUA chief said. “At NCUA, we must always strive to provide an efficiency of process which creates a regulatory environment where credit unions are encouraged and not impeded in their effort to reach out and serve Americans from all walks of life.” Dollar continued, “Adopting an underserved community not only provides affordable financial services where otherwise the folks in the neighborhood may not have access to a full-range of low-cost services, but, when managed properly, reaching out to these new markets can help to strengthen the financial viability for those credit unions.” -

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