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WASHINGTON-NAFCU President and CEO Fred Becker shared with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) how credit unions help low-income households build assets. On the eve of a committee hearing, Becker wrote to Grassley on the nation’s depressed savings rate and near record bankruptcy filings. “NAFCU strongly supports measures to improve America’s personal savings rate. A number of factors, most particularly deeply ingrained spending habits, have led to the current savings glut,” he stated. “While savings and asset building is particularly difficult for families operating on a modest income, NAFCU believes Congress can help lend a hand by continuing to take steps to encourage financial education and literacy.” He added that simplifying tax preferred savings plans could help improve savings. “Simplifying current tax preferred savings programs, streamlining rules and easing access to open such accounts will go a long way towards encouraging low-income families to save more,” he said. Becker also pointed out how NCUA’s Access Across America initiative has helped credit unions reach out to 981 underserved areas since the beginning of 2002, covering millions of underserved people. “This has enabled many credit unions to set up financial education and financial literacy programs in underserved and low-income areas,” he explained. “The cooperative member-owned nature of credit unions also provides credit unions a unique insight to their members and allows them to tailor their services to their member’s needs.” A copy of the letter was also sent to Ranking Committee Member Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

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