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WASHINGTON-NCUA Board Member Debbie Matz told the audience at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference this week that she is often amazed at the innovative programs she finds at credit unions in her nationwide travels. She said more and more credit unions are offering top-notch financial education programs, multicultural outreach, and risk-based lending among many others. To share her discoveries with the credit union community, Matz has launched a new section to the Partnering and Leadership Successes Web site for `best practices.’ “This year I believe these programs are even more important to credit unions’ bottom line,” she said. “I believe they are the best defense against taxation.” Matz emphasized that credit unions’ efforts are known well beyond the borders of their state, “all the way to Washington, D.C.” Taxation is a major threat to credit unions’ safety and soundness, Matz said, which concerns her as a regulator. It would also stunt credit unions’ ability to serve those who need them the most. She stressed that credit unions need to make lawmakers aware of the service they are providing to their communities. Sharing and implementing best practices is one way credit unions can help ensure they maintain their tax-exempt status. In PALS’ first year, workshops were held on affordable housing partnerships, connecting with Latinos, making member business loans and offering predatory lending alternatives. “I have been encouraged – and even overwhelmed – by the enthusiasm shown by credit union leaders,” Matz said. “Each PALS workshop has been larger than the last. And the most recent workshops, on member business lending and alternatives to predatory lending, were filled to capacity.” PALS takes the `people helping people’ philosophy to the next level: credit unions helping credit unions. “There’s such enthusiasm about this concept that my office is getting calls almost every day from credit union people suggesting topics and locations for future workshops,” she added. The next workshop is scheduled for March 25 in San Francisco and will focus on member business lending. Also, a new workshop has been scheduled on home mortgages June 2 in Boston, Matz announced. To access the new best practices site, start at www.ncua.gov and click on the PALS link, then Best Practices. The innovative programs are organized in 10 categories from Community Partnerships to Predatory Lending Alternatives. The site features 150 credit unions with nearly 300 best practices. Matz encouraged credit unions to submit their innovative practices to be posted on the best practices site by sending in: * the name of your credit union; * the name of each innovative program; * a brief description of each program; * a contact person for each program; and * their phone number. Additionally, at CUNA’s GAC, Matz introduced Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation Executive Director Ken Wade to recognize the New Hampshire Credit Union League and CEO Dan Egan for an innovative homeownership expansion project they have begun. When the league, Matz, and NRC co-hosted a workshop on the subject, it began a longer-term partnership. Following the conference, 32 credit unions in New Hampshire, in conjunction with the league, pledged $35 million to programs to help low-and moderate-income people get into and save their homes. The programs include help for first time buyers and an emergency loan program for families that suddenly find themselves in financial hardship to help them save their homes. [email protected]

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