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TEMPLE HILLS, Md.-Acting NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar presented Rev. John Cherry with a federal charter for None Suffer Lack Federal Credit Union in a special ceremony last week. The federal credit union is the newest faith-based credit union in America, scheduled to officially open for business October 1. “The leadership of this new credit union have impressed me so much because I have learned that they are folks who have not only heard the call of faith to `love their neighbor,’ but they have chosen to demonstrate their calling by extending their outreach beyond that of the traditional faith-based organization,” Dollar said during the presentation. From the Heart Church Ministries in Temple Hills, Md. will sponsor None Suffer Lack, a single common bond credit union. President and CEO Clinton Jones will head up the new credit union. CUNA Public and Congressional Affairs Manager Jennifer Gore is a member of the church and was on the committee to help the credit union get off the ground. She said she mostly helped with marketing ideas and other basics. Gore added that the idea of a credit union was raised before the Credit Union Membership Access Act, but was put on hold after its passage and started up again about two years ago. Dollar, parallel to President George W. Bush, has announced faith-based initiatives to make it easier for faith-based credit unions to expand their services. White House Associate Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Lisa Cummins shared the stage with Dollar. Approximately 500 faith-based credit unions exist in the U.S. presently, with more than $2 billion in assets. None Suffer Lack’s immediate potential membership is over 26,000, mainly in the Washington, D.C.-area, but also in Tampa; Pomana, Calif.; Philadelphia; Houston; Cincinnati; and Atlanta. According to a report in the Washington Times, From the Heart Church Ministries is a spin off from Full Gospel AME Zion Church, which occurred in 1999. Cherry, who established both churches, claimed that the $40 million AME Zion had accumulated through July 1999 was the property of the congregation, which he carried over with him. The money was contested by AME Zion and is currently under appeal after a county circuit court originally ruled in favor of AME Zion, the Times reported. The Washington Post reported that the property allegedly taken from AME Zion included a Lear jet. The Maryland Court of Appeals is reviewing the case at present, the Post said. According to the Times, the $1.5 million the church provided in seed money for the credit union comes from funds generated after the split of the two denominations. Dollar acknowledged, “The packet sent to the region covered everything with relation to the sponsor.” The NCUA Acting Chairman called the lawsuit a “non-issue” in relation to the credit union, because credit union sponsors are closed down or sued all the time and it does not affect the credit union. Judging by the turnout of the congregation at the chartering and the long list of potential members, the credit union should be highly successful, Dollar predicted. [email protected]

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