WASHINGTON-NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar was the keynote speaker last week at a Fannie Mae Foundation roundtable entitled Access To Financial Services For Working Poor Families. As the economy enjoys a little boost in the not-too-distant future, more Americans will be better positioned to take advantage of increased job growth and rising income to accelerate their goals of self-sufficiency and home ownership, Dollar said. He emphasized that broader access to affordable financial services such as those provided by credit unions can help make this potential a reality. "Accessing the American Dream can become a reality for many with the empowerment of communities to provide access to lower-cost financial services," Dollar said. "As not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperatives that are structurally driven more by member service than stockholder dividends, credit unions can be a financial partner of the type many underserved Americans, especially the working poor, are missing in their struggle for a piece of this nation's economic pie." The Foundation organized the event, which brought together senior representatives from financial regulators, consumer interests groups, insured financial institutions, and alternative financial institutions, to better understand the increase in the working poor using fringe financial services providers for their needs and identify solutions to better serve their needs. The chairman also highlighted the progress of the agency's Access Across America initiative, which has resulted in more than 60 million Americans becoming eligible for credit union membership. The credit unions that have adopted underserved communities under the program have grown 92.6% faster than all federal credit unions on average.

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