WASHINGTON — The poor economy coupled with the rise inforeclosures is driving up the requests for “Innovation Grants”under a three-year-old program offered by the National Credit UnionFoundation.

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“In addition to the number of requests, we're also seeing anincrease in the size of the applications–$49,000 in 2007 to$54,000–as well as witnessing the addition of new states to theprogram,” said Steven Bosack, deputy director.

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Applicants for the grants aimed at assisting low wealthindividuals or those with modest means during a tight economicperiod include 19 CUs plus 10 community-based groups which partnerwith CUs along with various foundations and state leagues. So farthere have been 41 submitted in 2008 compared to 38 a year ago.

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“Judging from the goals of the grant proposals, the increasereflects credit unions' desire to help more people of modestmeans,” said Bosack, noting the foreclosure category was added thisyear in light of new market conditions.

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NCUF opened this year's Innovation Grant cycle last April andclosed it in June. In light of new conditions, “we addedforeclosure prevention as a new category under homeownershipgrants,” he said

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