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HARRISBURG, Pa. – Appearing before a panel of state senators to explain the Pennsylvania Department of Banking’s 2004/2005 budget priorities, Secretary of Banking William Schenck explained how much of his department’s resources in 2004 and 2005 will be focused on some pro-consumer initiatives. Among those initiatives are: * a statewide study on foreclosures: once completed, the Pennsylvania Banking Department will provide recommendations to lawmakers to combat any predatory lending or other fraudulent schemes in the state. * financial literacy: work with lawmakers to see what can be done to help Pennsylvania citizens, especially the elderly, better understand the responsibly use of credit, and possible look into the possibility of working out an agreement with lenders on college campuses to lower ATM fees. * community development: the Department of Banking staff will work with financial institutions to help them get the available state funding, where it’s available, to better serve communities that need financial services. * overdraft protection: Schenck told the State Senate Appropriations panel that his department believes there are positive aspects of overdraft protection services, if used properly. But the Secretary offered that problems start for consumers when lenders start charging high, recurring fees and essentially become a predatory lender. There are 79 state-chartered credit unions in Pennsylvania, and Schenck told the Senators that the CUs comprise about one-third of all credit union deposits in Pennsylvania.

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