NAPLES, Fla.-In a speech to the American Association of Credit Union Leagues, NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar highlighted NCUA’s successes over the last year and particularly patted the agency’s back on the success of the Access Across America initiative. “America’s federal credit unions made unprecedented steps last year in providing economic empowerment to more persons of modest means,” he said. “Credit unions surpassed all previous years since we initiated Access Across America as they provided access to credit union service through adopting 269 underserved neighborhoods with over 25.1 million residents who now have greater access to lower cost financial services as an alternative to the pawn shops and check cashing outlets that have proliferated in their communities. Access Across America is indeed having its desired effect – and that is to enhance access to credit union membership by more low-income Americans.” Access Across America was developed by Dollar. Looking ahead in 2004, Dollar said he was committed to continued success at the agency by prioritizing certain issues. Namely tightening regulations regarding thrift conversion disclosures, promoting risk-based prompt corrective action, and continued self-study through the Accountability in Management recommendations, among other things. “While I am Chairman, NCUA will continue to evaluate ways to improve and modernize credit union supervision and regulation without sacrificing their strong financial position,” Dollar concluded.

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