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ARLINGTON, Va. – Three community development credit unions are among the very few credit unions to have been awarded support from the U.S. Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions fund so far this year. The three, the $2.8 million Brookland FCU, headquartered in West Columbia, South Carolina; the $6.9 million Newrizon FCU, headquartered in Hoquiam, Washington and the $6 million Stevenson FCU, headquartered in Stevenson, Alabama, all received grants designed to help them improve different technical aspects of their operations. The Brookland Baptist Church sponsored the credit union’s charter in 1999. No one from the credit union was available to speak in detail about the grant, but generally the CDFI fund reported that it had given the credit union $50,000 to acquire consulting services and to update its computer system from a DOS-based to a Windows-based platform. The Fund gave Newrizon almost $50,000 to help it move a branch and put an ATM into place, a task which CEO Terry Fulz said the credit union had only just begun. “We haven’t really started to figure out yet just what sort of ATM we want and what our members’ needs are,” explained Fultz, who added that the credit union had applied for the grant back in November of 2003 and had hoped for the money even sooner. The credit union was founded in 1965 to serve the employees of a now defunct company that made equipment for pulp and paper operations. Since the decline of the company, the credit union had been adding employee groups and now looks to apply for a community charter later this year. In addition to moving the branch and purchasing the ATM, the credit union will also use the grant to start to train local high school students in sound money management, a move which Fultz said she hoped would eventually lead to the credit union having even deeper involvement in the area’s school. Stevenson FCU will use part of its $31,000 grant to upgrade its phone system to be able to give members access to their financial data 24 hours a day by phone. “This will really help both our members and staff,” said CEO Elizabeth Dudley. “As we have added employee groups and the members have direct deposit, more members have been calling to make sure that their deposits have been made,” she explained. Stevenson is also planning a community charter later this year so the additional capacity will come in handy, Dudley said. – [email protected]

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