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WASHINGTON-Representatives from the General Accounting Office met with CUNA and NAFCU officials to boost their general credit union knowledge before embarking on a study of the industry as requested by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.). The lawmaker asked that GAO look into the safety and soundness of the credit union industry; the impact of the Credit Union Membership Access Act; and the extent to which credit unions carry out their mission. Both groups said they could not give much detail about the meetings, each taking place in their respective headquarters for an hour and a half, but said that GAO was very receptive to the background information they provided. General items of discussion included the financial strength of credit unions, the dual chartering system, the decline in the number of credit unions, Prompt Corrective Action, and the dedication of credit unions to their statutory mission. NAFCU President and CEO Fred Becker said the GAO officials indicated they would like a return trip, which he welcomed, and CUNA General Counsel Eric Richard said his organization would keep the lines of communication open with the investigative arm of the Congress. Becker added that no strict timeline was given, but the GAO said the study could be completed as early as next spring.

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