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WASHINGTON-President George W. Bush traveled last week to Duniba, Calif. to speak about the economy, the strong housing market, and his homeownership agenda. Due to increasing home values, American homeowners are enjoying $3 trillion more in housing wealth than in 2000. At the same time, the president urged the Senate to pass The American Dream Downpayment Act, which is aimed at helping approximately 40,000 families with downpayment and closing costs each year. In June 2002, President Bush announced his intention of increasing minority homeownership by at least 5.5 million by the end of the decade. As a Blueprint Partner, NCUA has played a role in achieving that goal. By systematically streamlining its regulations, including its field of membership policies, the agency is helping credit unions offer services to a larger potential group of members, and therefore minorities. Additionally, NCUA began its Access Across America initiative that encourages credit unions to adopt underserved areas. In 2002, 424 underserved areas were adopted by credit unions-the largest number ever-to a total of nearly 24 million potential members. The agency also allows credit unions to reach out to more underserved areas through its Community Development Revolving Loan Fund and by encouraging partnerships with NeighborWorks Organizations, among other activities.

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