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I read with interest David Morrison’s July 2, 2003 article entitled, “Federation Launching New Effort for Disabled; CUs Can Do More to Assist this Often Neglected Segment”. I am a past president of a credit union and now I own a speaking and consulting firm dedicated to working with organizations that want to keep all their employees performing at a high-level to maintain their competitive edge. One of my presentations is titled, “Marketing to People with Disabilities”. I feel that people with disabilities have been under marketed and that the 20% of our population (based on the Americans With Disabilities Act) that is disabled controls a lot of money that could find its way into credit unions and other financial institutions, as well as retail outlets. The $200 billion in discretionary spending that they control is significant. Once credit unions get people with disabilities into their places of business, will they know how to treat them? Is the staff trained in disability etiquette? I’m sure credit unions would not like to lose potential members that they have worked so hard to attract. There are a number of ways to turn this negative into a positive. One would be to hire people with disabilities. This could make a significant impact on people with disabilities choosing one credit union over another. Another positive way would be to include them in advertising. A third way would be to become involved with the disability community by sponsoring or participating in a local or national disability event. Whatever direction a credit union takes, it would be best to ensure that all credit union employees have the training they need to make this effort a success. David M. Little President/CEO Disability Management – Life & Work Solutions, LLC St. Louis, Mo.

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