ALEXANDRIA, Va.-While 2001′s record numbers of underserved additions were notable, the statistics from 2002 blow them away. NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar announced last week that credit unions had expanded service into underserved and low-income communities nationwide adding 23.5 million potential members. The increase is significant over the 16.1 million from 2001, the first year for Access Across America. Over the last two years, credit unions have adopted 706 underserved areas for a total of 39.6 million new potential members. According to NCUA data, 223 federal credit unions added 424 underserved areas with an aggregate population of 23.5 million in 2002. "Although the results are the best in our agency's history, there are still many communities across America which need access to affordable financial services. Credit unions can play an important role in meeting the financial needs of these low-income and underserved communities, many of which will otherwise be driven to the predatory lenders which moved into these neighborhoods when the traditional financial institutions moved out," Dollar said.

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