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DALLAS – NCUA Board member Debbie Matz’s opening day speech last week at Southwest Corporate FCU’s 27th Annual Economic Forum stressed that credit unions can play an important role in getting low-income consumers back on track. “Today there are more people than ever who need affordable financial services,” Matz explained. “All across America, in cities, rural areas, and now even in suburbs, the vast majority of workers have lost real income. And a record 36 million people – one out of every eight people in America – fall below the poverty line,” said Matz. She noted that a growing number of families with two adults and two children are trying to get by on income below $18,660 a year, and one out of three single mothers are living on less. “Credit unions can play a valuable role in restoring a sense of hope for consumers who have lost their optimism. Especially for those with lesser means, credit unions can help consumers escape the downward spiral of high-cost debt and begin to build wealth.” She specifically cited the need for credit unions to provide alternatives to predatory lending, risk-based loans, affordable mortgages, and financial education.

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