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RALEIGH, N.C.- Local Government Federal Credit Union, First Carolina Corporate Credit Union and State Employees’ Credit Union have teamed up with BALANCE, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco, to help members improve their financial lives. As part of this new, five-year cooperative partnership agreement, all North Carolina credit unions with assets under $25 million will be able to offer BALANCE financial counseling services to their members at no cost to the members or the credit union. “Our partnership is designed specifically to help smaller credit unions provide a valuable tool to their members at no cost to the credit union or their members. When members fall on hard times or need help cleaning up their bills, BALANCE has the education and debt-management resources to help them get back on their feet. It seems increasingly important for credit unions to provide reliable resources to their members who may be struggling financially,” said First Carolina Corporate Credit Union President/CEO David Brehmer. First Carolina Corporate Credit Union and BALANCE will work together to enroll interested North Carolina credit unions in the financial counseling program and will provide staff training sessions to all credit unions beginning in the fall of 2006. Services available to credit union members under the BALANCE Financial Fitness Program include one-on-one money management, budget and debt counseling; bankruptcy prevention counseling; help with housing issues from first time home buyers to foreclosure prevention; and information on a wide variety of financial issues. BALANCE provides extended services to credit union members through a toll free hotline available Monday through Saturday. “There is a strong cooperative message in extending BALANCE services to a wider audience of credit unions. LGFCU is proud to be part of an effort to leverage credit unions’ buying power. By combining the memberships of several credit unions, this partnership helps make a valuable service available to fields of membership of different sizes. Furthermore, there is no profit motive or hidden agenda,” Local Government FCU President Maurice Smith said. SECU Loan Administration Department Vice President Phil Greer adds, “The move further exemplifies the credit union `People Helping People’ philosophy.” Local Government FCU and SECU successfully partnered with BALANCE for the last five years to provide credit counseling services to their members. There are over 100 North Carolina credit unions with assets of less than $25 million, serving over 250,000 members who will potentially benefit under the agreement.

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