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WASHINGTON-Congress and Treasury have asked all financial institutions to hold up their end of the bargain in battling money laundering. Money laundering has been a focus of law and policymakers since the terrorist attacks of September 11, which officials believe were financed through money laundering activity. “Two credit union branches were crushed inside the World Trade Center; another was attacked in the Pentagon. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of credit union members are among the dead and injured-including many of the firefighters and police who gave their lives to save others,” CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica wrote. “But our cooperative spirit lives on. As you said so strongly in your address to the nation, `America is successful because of the hard work and creativity and enterprise of our people.’ ” Mica noted CUNA’s strong support for Treasury’s America’s 2001 Money Laundering Strategy, released last week. “ We will continue a constant vigil to guard against any potential money launderers who may seek refuge in our institutions,” the letter read. In the letter, Mica listed several examples of the credit union `people helping people’ philosophy in action. Mica explained that credit unions go “above and beyond the call of duty” everyday to help their members. “But since the attacks, credit union have been working overtime to help members who were directly impacted, and to help reaffirm all Americans’ faith in the financial industry,” Mica explained. CUNA’s chief listed the many relief funds established by the various leagues, credit unions, and the National Credit Union Foundation; the New York Credit Union League’s command center to channel information about credit union members who were hit in an effort to keep more telephone lines open; aid credit unions are providing to their members on the front line of the recovery efforts; and CUNA’s strong support of the airline relief bill. “Credit unions have proven that they are not just financial institutions. Credit unions provide a sense of belonging, a sense of community,” Mica wrote. He noted that some of the emergency efforts by credit unions were made possible by the flexibility within NCUA, headed by newly appointed Chairman Dennis Dollar.

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