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ALEXANDRIA, Va.-At NCUA’s Access Across America Economic Empowerment Summit in Tampa Oct. 14, NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson announced that credit unions that have adopted underserved areas are growing at a rate 123% faster than federal credit unions’ national average so far in 2004. Additionally, mortgage loans at these credit unions topped the national average by 3.8%. Share draft growth was up 17.4%, Johnson added. In 2003, federal credit unions with underserved areas grew members 77% faster than the national average. In the first nine months of 2004, 107 federal credit unions adopted 185 underserved areas encompassing nearly 18.5 million residents. However, in the same period of 2003, 132 federal credit unions had added 210 areas with total population of 19,125,132, according to NCUA figures. “With greater access to credit unions in their neighborhoods and communities, many underserved Americans now have access to a partner they can count on as they strive to achieve their American Dream, whether it’s becoming a new homeowner or realizing financial self-sufficiency,” Johnson said. “Credit unions are not only expanding into these underserved areas, but are truly making a real difference for their new members who otherwise, would be left behind to predatory lenders and check-cashing outlets.” “We are pleased with the good work of the nation’s credit unions in serving these underserved communities, and the significant growth rate of 123% faster than the national average reaffirms the credit union commitment of serving people from all walks of life,” Johnson stated. “Expanding into these areas provides credit unions with opportunities and challenges as they grow their membership and manage the risks. With the growth over the past four years, by early 2005, credit unions will be on target to have a potential membership of over 80 million Americans living in underserved areas who need access to affordable financial services.” Since 2000, NCUA has streamlined the process for credit unions to adopt underserved areas. [email protected]

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