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TAMPA, Fla.-Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson applauded credit unions’ efforts to create housing opportunities during his address at NCUA’s Access Across America Economic Empowerment Summit in Tampa, Fla. recently. “In fact, NCUA is one of the Administration’s strongest allies in boosting minority homeownership,” he stated. “Two and a half years ago, President George W. Bush called on the nation to increase the number of minority homeowners by more than 5.5 million families by the end of this decade. NCUA signed on as a charter member of the American Dream Team and they’ve been with us ever since. We’re proud to have their help… and together, we’re doing great work.” Jackson cited NCUA statistics that over the last three years, 558 credit unions have adopted nearly 1,000 underserved neighborhoods. “Today, families in those communities no longer have to rely only on check-cashing outlets and pawnshops when they need to make a financial transaction. A local credit union may be able to help them instead,” he said. “As a result, more than 64 million Americans have better access to lower-cost financial services. And that, in turn, is creating more opportunities for homeownership.” He continued, “This is especially true in minority communities. By reaching into minority areas and empowering the underserved through affordable credit, you’re helping to create homeownership and small business opportunities for those who haven’t had such opportunities in the past. Your efforts to combat predatory lending are having an equally powerful impact.” Jackson emphasized the administration’s stress on increasing homeownership. “Throughout our nation’s history, homeownership has been creating community stakeholders who vote and stay active in their churches and local charities,” he commented. “Homeownership offers children a stable living environment that influences their development in measurable ways. And it’s hard to overstate the importance of housing and all of its related industries to the national economy.” He noted that 300 credit unions participate in the Federal Housing Administration, and he hopes more will join them. “We welcome your expertise in providing credit to America’s fast growing and often underserved communities,” Jackson said. [email protected]

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