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ARLINGTON, Va. — Credit unions’ efforts to reach out to underserved communities and develop better strategies to serve lower income members took several steps into the credit union mainstream in 2007.

The biggest step, on the national level, was the take off in the REAL Solutions program, a research and training effort in helping credit unions discover new products and strategies for reaching out to underserved communities. The National Credit Union Foundation took over the administration and chief sponsorship of the program from its developer, the Filene Research Institute, in late 2006. Since then the reaction to the effort has been so enthusiastic that the program had to apply some brakes in the middle of the year in order to be able to meet credit union demand and the effort seems likely to keep building in 2008.

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