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WASHINGTON — NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson and Bethex Federal Credit Union President/CEO Joy Cousminer laid out for members of Congress the work that credit unions are doing to serve disadvantaged communities during a recent hearing on the subject. Johnson highlighted the crucial role credit unions play in offering alternatives to predatory lenders and promoted financial education as the key to keeping consumers out of a cycle of debt during a hearing of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. “Time to get it into the curriculum is limited but they are beginning to understand the importance,” she said in response to a question about the school systems’ interest. Congressman Jim Moran (D-Va.) questioned what else Congress should be doing to fight predatory lenders and said that education is not enough for some families who do not have the means at the end of the day to get out from under payday lenders and others. NCUA’s Community Development Revolving Loan Fund is also used to help credit unions in low-income areas expand their services, Johnson explained. Last year, she said, “These grants were used to help credit unions fill a variety of needs, from offering free income tax preparation, to creating bi-lingual materials, to developing a financial literacy program.”

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