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BURBANK, Calif. – Two community-based credit unions in the greater Los Angeles area were recently recognized by the cities they serve. Burbank-based Media City Community Credit Union was named “Best Bank in Burbank” in a 2005 reader’s poll published by the Burbank Leader, a local twice-weekly newspaper. Media City beat out national, regional and community based banks, as well as larger local credit unions, to win the title for the second year in a row. CEO Debra Taylor said the recognition is exciting for the $31 million credit union because the Burbank market is saturated with credit unions much larger than Media City. Industry giant $2 billion Lockheed Federal Credit Union is also headquartered in Burbank, as is $550 million First Entertainment Credit Union, which technically has a Hollywood zip code but is geographically closer to Burbank. Burbank is also home to $227 million Burbank City Federal Credit Union, $107 million Burbank Community Federal Credit Union, and three other entertainment-industry credit unions. “We’re the smallest, and I think maybe that’s what members like about us. There are no lines, and you know everyone here, because there are only eight employees,” Taylor said. Media City sought a community charter in 1999 after its sponsor, Hughes Market, went out of business. The credit union has been successful attracting business from those who live, work and worship in Burbank, increasing assets from $25 million to $31 million since Taylor took over as CEO three years ago. Downey Federal Credit Union is also a community chartered credit union, with a field of membership that includes those who live, work and worship in the city of Downey, located about 10 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. The $120 million credit union recently received the Downey Chamber of Commerce’s Best Business Award in the large business category. According to CEO Barbara Lamberth, the credit union was nominated and voted upon by Chamber members. Downey FCU is very active in the community, which Lamberth said probably contributed to the Chamber’s decision. The credit union supports a number of community events and non-profits, including Gangs Out of Downey, which provides a police officer on local high school campuses and stages interventions with gang members. The credit union is also very active with its two original sponsors, the Downey Unified School District, and Downey Regional Medical Center. “And we get out into the community and helped,” Lamberth said. “I have employees who go to library and read to children, we donate blood, we just try to do whatever we can to give back to he community.” Lamberth was born and raised in Downey, and has worked at the credit union for 31 years, beginning her career as a receptionist. “For me, it was very rewarding to be recognized, and it’s gratifying to give back to a community that has supported us for so many years. It’s a part of our business plan and philosophy – we’re never going to the biggest, but we want to be a good community-based credit union,” she said. Dr. Dan Fox, owner of Fox Chiropractic Clinic and 10-year credit union member, also won a Chamber Best Business award in the small business category. “They support Downey and they’re convenient to me, since I was born and raised and work here, and, they’re just a great group of people to work with,” Dr. Fox said. Dr. Fox said his wife, Debbie, and two children, Lauren, age 20, and Rob, age 16, also have their own separate accounts at the credit union. In fact, the chiropractor said he used Downey FCU to teach financial literacy to his children. “I got my kids started with banking there, and it’s helped me teach them how to handle their finances – my son’s and daughter’s allowances are automatically deposited there, and they look online to see how much money they have,” he said, “and now that my daughter is in college and has a job, she deposits her paychecks there.” “My wife’s paycheck is direct deposited into the credit union, so I guess you could say her allowance goes there, too,” the doctor joked. [email protected]

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