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The article on the Latino Credit Union Project in Madison, Wis, (CU Times, Jan. 22) in which I was interviewed and quoted, is inaccurate and misleading. The headline is quite inaccurate and disturbing. There has never been, and never was, any dissent from within any of the organizations, board or groups involved in the attempt to set up a Latino Credit Union in Madison. The fact that the project did not materialize had nothing to do with any opposition from the Latino community since there was no opposition to the project. There were also no arguments from the Latino community, including credit union members, regarding the Latino Credit Union effort or to encourage existing financial institutions to do a better job serving the Latino community as was suggested in the article. The word “segregate” was not part of the vocabulary for this effort and no one questioned “segregation” as an issue for or among the Latino community. Results of the effort were less than desired only in the failed attempts to raise the needed grant dollars to organize the Latino Credit Union. The organizers were working together to try to make the Latino Credit Union a reality. There is no one to blame for the unsuccessful attempt. Every aspect of the attempt was positive with people working together to make this happen. Other misleading information included an implication that CUNA Mutual Insurance Company (a member of the CUNA Mutual Group) pledged support that never materialized. In fact, CUNA Mutual was excited about this initiative and followed through with all its commitments including a $5,000 donation in March 2001 to provide an office space deposit. Among other support, CUNA Mutual also provided in-kind staff contributions. Dory Christensen, a CUNA Mutual International Division employee served as a “loaned executive” to the initiative during her last six months of employment prior to her retirement from CUNA Mutual. Her co-worker, Jackie Ochoa, also served on the project. Other big supporters were Diebold, UltraData, the Wisconsin Credit Union League and the local Unitarian Church. On the positive note, members have voiced appreciation for the efforts CUNA Credit Union has made to serve the Latino community. While there was not enough grant donations for the development of a free-standing Latino Credit Union in Madison, CUNA Credit Union remains committed to serving this population. Past and current efforts include bilingual ATMs, Spanish speaking staff, A “First Start” program designed to help those with no credit history obtain financial services, Spanish-language forms, and Individual Development Accounts. In addition to these individual efforts, CUNA Credit Union and some of the original organizers of the Latino Credit Union project have evolved to provide financial literacy education to the Latino community. CUNA Credit Union, with UW Credit Union, UW-Extension Dane County and Centro Guadalupe have created the Madison-Area Credit Union’s Financial Literacy Education Task Force, which is currently offering a series of six financial literacy education classes to Latinos Madison is a growing community that is becoming more and more ethnically diverse. As a leading financial institution, we will grow and change to meet the financial services needs of the community we serve. Although the time for a Latino credit union is not right today, we remain open to future possibilities. Linda B. Ewing VP of Marketing & Sales CUNA Credit Union Madison, Wis. (Editor’s Note: Credit Union Times stands by the accuracy of the story.)

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