<p>MADISON, Wis. – The National Credit Union Foundation's request to become a housing counseling intermediary has been approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The designation makes NCUF eligible to apply for housing counseling grant funds from HUD. NCUF is pursuing HUD funds as part of its Affordable Mortgage Lending initiative that is currently focused on a newly formed CUSO in El Paso formed to facilitate mortgage loans for low-income members. NCUF will also be using funds to support member education through a group of credit unions participating in the foundation's Home Ownership Counseling program. NCUF plans to submit a formal grant request for $950,000 later this spring. John Fiore, NCUF Board chairman said the designation from HUD "is recognition on the part of the U.S. government that credit unions are legitimate players in the area of housing and urban development. It's also validation that the work of the National Credit Union Foundation is important. What we do matters." NCUF Executive Director Gary Officer said the designation "puts credit unions on a much more level playing field with other financial institutions when it comes to meeting the housing needs of low-income consumers."</p>

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