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WASHINGTON-Credit unions were barely mentioned during a forum last week held by the Congressional Black Caucus, chaired by Congressman Mel Watt (D-N.C.), on predatory lending. CUNA was keeping a watchful eye on the hearing to see if the representative from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition would be citing the results of the group’s recent study based on Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data showing that credit unions do not lend to minorities as much as banks. Credit union groups have been highly critical of the report, but it was not mentioned during the forum. Pat Keefe, CUNA vice president of communications and media outreach, said that Self-Help Credit Union President and CEO Martin Eakes was supposed to address the group, but instead Keith Ernst from the Center for Responsible Lending, a subsidiary of Eakes’ credit union, testified. According to an eyewitness account from CUNA Legislative Affairs Manager Linda Gualtieri Haer, two specific credit unions were mentioned by a representative from ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) complaining of high denial rates for minorities based on HMDA data for the credit unions, but offered no industry-wide data.

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