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WASHINGTON-NAFCU hosted a breakfast last week for a number of the Blue Dogs, a group of 39 moderate Democrats in Congress, many of whom serve on the House Financial Services and Armed Services Committees. To help illustrate credit unions’ efforts with the military, NAFCU brought along Pentagon Federal Credit Union CEO Frank Pollack and Navy Federal Credit Union COO Bill Earner to address the 11 members of Congress and staffers from seven offices regarding what the defense credit unions are doing to serve the military. The breakfast spun out of discussions following Congressman Steve Israel’s (D-N.Y.) speech via telephone at NAFCU’s Defense Summit. Of the Blue Dogs, about seven or eight are on the House Financial Services and Armed Services Committees each. From the Financial Services Committee, Congressmen Dennis Moore (D-Kan.), Ken Lucas (D-Ky.), and Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) attended. Congressmen Israel and Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) attended from the Armed Services Committee, as well as staffers from Representatives Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) and Jim Turner’s (D-Texas) offices. “We talked about what services defense credit unions are providing to the troops,” NAFCU President and CEO Fred Becker explained. The lawmakers asked about issues like payday lending, adverse action and credit reports in relation to those serving in the military. Erner described an auto loan program for young servicemen without a great credit history with loans at 2% above the typical rate. After they make on-time payments for two years, the loan drops to the usual rate. Additionally, Pollack told the members of Congress about a program where a military member can call and say `the check’s in the mail’ and the money is automatically credited. “They haven’t lost a penny on it,” Becker said. He added, “There’s a general recognition.that the military is hard to serve.” For example they move a lot and may not always have access to financial services. “I think it’s important that we keep the good things credit unions are doing before members of Congress,” Becker said of the breakfast, particularly when it comes to service to the troops. “When you can get 11 members of Congress in a room with you and your credit unions, that’s a good day,” he concluded. After the meeting, Becker and Israel discussed NAFCU addressing the group again in about a year with a different segment of the credit union community. -

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