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LATHAM, N.Y. – New York credit unions that assist students with 529 college savings plan may be eligible to receive a commission to offset the expenses involved. Due to a decision by State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, credit unions can qualify to receive the commissions by having staff members who are registered investment advisors through the Securities and Exchange Commission. The New York State League reported that it is “thrilled that the Comptroller was as disappointed with the low number of 529 Plan accounts set up through credit unions as we were,” and “we’re here to help credit union members–and now we can help them open 529 Plan accounts in New York.” With credit unions now able to earn commissions for their work, the new advisory plan should be self-supporting, and generate savings for members by sparing them federal, or sometimes state, income taxes, the League reported. The 529 Plan is open to any U.S. citizen or resident alien who has a valid Social Security number or taxpayer identification number and a valid residential address that isn’t a post office box. The person on whose behalf an account is opened must also be a U.S. citizen or resident alien with a valid Social Security number or taxpayer identification number. There are no income restrictions or state residency requirements. Columbia Management Group, Inc., the asset management arm of FleetBoston Financial, is the investment manager for the program. For more information, contact Dan Gustafson at [email protected] or (800) 446-4008, ext. 5457.

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