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We were delighted to see the article on the VISTA volunteers working for Montana Credit Unions for Community Development on issues like Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and alternatives to payday lending in the Aug. 31 issue. VISTA Volunteers Jessica Baker and Ginny Summey shouldn’t feel alone in their work with credit unions, however. The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions has had one of the largest VISTA programs in the country for more than a decade. We have placed scores of VISTA volunteers in our credit unions across the United States, and they have made enormous contributions in areas ranging from microenterprise, to home ownership, to developing new products and services for CDCUs. Currently, our program has more than 30 VISTAs stationed at 28 CDCUS in 17 states, with more on the way. We’ve been able to place VISTAs not only at CDCUs, but also at our Community Development Partners – larger credit unions that are working on low-income outreach and asset-building. Our special project this year focuses on expanding financial services to people with disabilities, and we have placed VISTAs both in credit unions and in organizations that serve persons with disabilities, in order to make financial linkages. We fully agree with our colleagues in Montana that an intermediary organization is necessary to deal with the complexities of the VISTA program, which – valuable as it is – is not without its bureaucratic and management complexities. Cliff Rosenthal Executive Director National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions New York

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