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BURLINGTON, Vt. – For her efforts in helping small businesses thrive in 11 counties here, Caryl Stewart, president of Vermont Development CU, was named Vermont’s 2004 Financial Services Advocate of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. VDCU, a state-chartered, community development credit union, considers small business owners to be an integral part of its mission to reinvest in the community it serves. Since 1999, VDCU has loaned $4 million to more than 100 small businesses in 11 Vermont counties. Under Stewart’s leadership, the CU has become a $30 million institution that has invested over $100 million with its low-wealth target population. VDCU was founded in 1989 by the Burlington Ecumenical Action Ministry (BEAM). Since then, more than 12,000 low to moderate-income Vermont families have used VDCU’s counseling-based lending, transactions, and asset building services to improve their financial lives and achieve expanded goals. To respond to growing demand outside Chittenden County, VDCU plans to bring its full range of services within one hour’s drive of every Vermonter. As a first step, VDCU will soon create an outpost office in the Rutland area here to serve Southwestern Vermont. “Persistence, tireless efforts, dedication to customers and sacrifice of personal time are the hallmarks of this financial industry leader,” said Dennis Corrigan, director of Fannie Mae’s Northern New England Partnership Office, who also nominated Stewart for the SBA Advocate of the Year award.

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