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TAMPA, Fla.-NCUA Board Member Deborah Matz could not escape the frigid winter weather, even in Florida, which experienced unseasonably cold temperatures recently. She celebrated her first year of serving on the NCUA Board by addressing NAFCU’s CEO meeting down in the Sunshine State. Matz praised the attendees for their help throughout the year, noting, “One of the best discoveries has been how willing everyone has been to share their knowledge and wisdom.” Matz, noting that she has been a member of three credit unions admitted that she was unaware of credit unions’ many noteworthy activities until she joined the board. But, she commented, “One thing I always knew is that credit unions are focused on their members’ needs as much as on the bottomline – that is what really sets them apart from banks.” Some of the other key lessons Matz said she learned during her tenure on the NCUA Board were: *Credit unions play a significant role in financial services, one overlooked by most banks and thrifts; *Credit unions offer a broad range of financial education tools; *Credit unions excel at building wealth for their members; *Credit unions whose fields of membership include immigrants offer services in their members’ native languages; *Credit unions really reaching out to members have implemented risk-based lending; *Member business lending is another area where some credit unions are on top of concerning member service, including making relatively small loans; *Credit unions of all sizes have been successful in partnering with government and other organizations and each other to provide advice, guidance, liquidity and technical expertise; *Consolidation will lead to the continued proliferation of larger credit unions; *Size is not crucial to service; *The federal charter is important and “NCUA must do what we can to enhance the federal charter and keep it competitive;” and *Credit unions are offering members alternatives to pawnshops and check cashers, among others. Matz concluded, “It’s very exciting to be part of the credit union movement at this time. I know that credit unions will continue to set the standards for customer service and satisfaction and rise to even greater levels of success and I look forward to playing a role in achieving that goal.”

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