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WASHINGTON-In response to critics questioning what credit unions are doing to serve the record number of underserved areas they are adopting, NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar announced last week that the federal credit unions that have adopted underserved areas since the Access Across America initiative have grown 93% faster than the national average. Dollar told attendees of the National Rural Housing Summit held at the National Press Club June 16 that membership at federal credit unions adding underserved areas has nearly doubled than the overall credit union national average. He said the numbers show that credit unions are not adopting these areas just to say they have, but “making a positive difference in the lives of the residents there.” The chairman was introduced by U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Rural Development Office Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Gilbert Gonzalez, whose name has been floated as a possibility to replace Dollar on the NCUA Board. Dollar touted the agency’s Access Across America program for boosting the number of underserved areas adopted and actual service in those areas. “It has always been our contention that these credit unions, who are required to establish a physical presence if they adopt an underserved area and present a detailed business plan on how they will market the entire area and manage the risk, are expanding into these underserved areas because they have a heartbeat for the communities and want to extend lower cost financial services to more folks from all walks of life. The numbers over the first three years prove that to be so and they make a case for what we as agencies can accomplish without lowering standards if we prioritize results,” he said. Over the last three years, federal credit unions that have adopted underserved areas have grown 4.80%, as opposed to the national average of 2.49%, for a difference of 92.6%. In related news, House Financial Services Housing Subcommittee Chairman Bob Ney (R-Ohio) held a hearing last week shortly after press time regarding the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the USDA’s Rural Housing Service. [email protected]

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