<p>ALEXANDRIA, Va.-Imagine images of NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar and Board Members JoAnn Johnson and Deborah Matz seated beside themselves (see photo on page 1). That is the view attendees of the NCUA's first ever attempt at conducting a board meeting with its new video conferencing system. Regional Directors Jane Walters (V) and Bob Blatner (VI) today joined the NCUA Board meeting via the system, which also displayed the three board members. At the conclusion of the meeting Dollar pointed out that the videoconferencing will improve productivity, reduce travel time and expense, and save the agency money over the long-term. The agency is also employing the newly acquired technology to conduct training sessions, briefings, and hold other meetings among staff that is spread throughout the country. The first technical training session to prepare for NCUA's regional conferences this summer will be conducted with the help of the new system. Two videoconferences on average per week are planned and scheduling conflicts are already creeping up with different offices requesting simultaneous use of the equipment. Classes in Alexandria are broadcast to all six regions, allowing interaction between class participants. "So far, we've been working through the mechanics, making sure the system works, as well as allowing employees to feel comfortable with the equipment," Executive Director Len Skiles, who frequently uses his own desktop unit to reach the regional directors, said. The portable equipment consists of a small camera and video monitor. Although the equipment so far has only been scheduled for internal use, it has external capabilities as well. Skiles said the agency plans to eventually conduct discussions with state leagues, state regulators, CUNA and NAFCU using the video conferencing system. The agency eventually hopes to participate in video streaming board meetings on the Internet to offer greater public access.</p>

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