ALEXANDRIA, Va.-NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson applauded credit unions for adding 27.4 million new potential credit union members last year by adopting underserved areas. “I applaud credit unions’ hard work in making the dream of financial self-sufficiency a reality for many previously left to make ends meet with payday lenders, pawnshop loans and check cashing fees,” Johnson stated. “NCUA’s streamlined application process epitomizes the agency’s Access Across America initiative that acts to enhance and create economic empowerment for Americans from all walks of life.” NCUA statistics show that 139 federal credit unions added 240 underserved areas in 2004. Texas led the way by adding 4.98 million potential members in 27 designated underserved, while New York added 37 underserved areas serving over 1.7 million potential members. Over the last four years, 697 federal credit unions have adopted 1,215 underserved areas, totaling 92.1 million potential members. “Year after year credit unions step up to meet the needs of their members and communities,” Johnson said. “NCUA will continue to support and facilitate expansion that provides financial service to low-income and underserved communities. I encourage credit unions to evaluate their long-term business plans to consider if adopting an underserved neighborhood or community can fulfill both their financial and philanthropic goals for the future.

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