<p>MADISON, Wis. – The Filene Research Institute would be open to studying the impact credit unions which add underserved areas to their fields of membership have on those underserved areas, according to Bob Hoel, Executive Director of the Institute. Credit unions added 16.1 million potential new members in those areas in 2001, but the NCUA has no mechanism in place to measure the impact of different credit union efforts in those areas. Hoel said that the Institute’s Research Council had discussed taking on the topic previously but that there had been concern that insufficient time had passed to measure the impact credit unions might be having. The Research Council, which is made up primarily of credit union CEOs, meets twice a year to set the Institute’s research priorities. Hoel estimated that the Research Council would consider the issue again, although he doubted the question would be on the agenda for the Council’s next meeting in only 10 days. An unscientific survey by Credit Union Times indicated that, on average, the nine credit unions that added underserved areas in November of 2000 recruited 3,900 members by December of 2001, with many of those members coming from the underserved areas.</p>

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