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WASHINGTON-Federal Reserve Board Governor Mark Olson commended credit unions for taking the lead in pushing Check 21 through Congress and into implementation during CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference last week. However, adaptation is moving more slowly than initially anticipated, he said. There was not a lot of investment in the necessary technologies at first, Olson noted, while the rules were emerging. Additionally, it is taking some time to get financial institutions certified for substitute checks and inter financial institution contracts are a factor. “Slowly we’re seeing all those appear,” he stated. Olson warned his credit union audience that Congress and the Fed would be monitoring financial institutions closely as they implement their programs. Other technological and electronic advancements have increased access to credit tremendously, as well as making it less biased, according to the Fed governor. On the other hand, the knowledge of the borrowers needs to be “put into balance.” Financial literacy, Olson advocated, is the area where financial services providers have the greatest opportunity to do the most good. Olson admitted before the approximately 4,000 credit union representatives attending CUNA’s GAC that 21 years ago he chaired the American Bankers Association’s Government Relations Committee. But, he made up for it by stating, “Going up against the credit union industry is a little bit like going up against Larry Holmes.” The former heavy weight champion of the world made a surprise presentation just prior to Olson to pump up the credit union troops to knock out the bankers as they descended upon Capitol Hill. [email protected]

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