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COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho-At Idaho Credit Union League’s Annual Meeting-”Voyage of Opportunity”-NCUA Board Member Debbie Matz urged the credit union representatives to seek out “hidden treasures” in their communities. “You have an opportunity to get on board and seek out potential members who are hidden from the financial mainstream,” Matz told the 200 credit union officials. “That means charting a course to reach everyone in your field of membership and your communities – especially people who are not being served by other insured financial institutions.” “Hidden treasures are everywhere – they are renters, recent immigrants, small business owners, single mothers and senior citizens,” she said. “Many credit unions in Idaho and around the country are beginning to discover that these `hidden treasures’ can be very rewarding. Credit unions are turning potential members into new, loyal members who expand their credit unions’ diversity, increase loan volume, build assets, and improve their bottom line.” She highlighted the story of Les Bois Federal Credit Union, which opened a branch in the town of Crouch, population 2,000. The credit union offered residents affordable loans, share drafts and business services. Because other financial institutions did not find it cost-effective to operate there, small business owners previously had to drive hours just for financial services. The branch opened 117 new accounts in its first 13 days of operation. Matz also gave the example of East Idaho Credit Union’s efforts to bring in the potential Latino members by hiring bilingual personnel. Idaho credit unions are also partnering with Pocatello Neighborhood Housing Services to promote services for first-time homebuyers. By getting involved in these types of activities, Matz said, “You can help them discover that your credit union is a hidden treasure!”

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