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DURHAM, N.C. — Latino Community Credit Union earned an innovation grant from the NCUF to promote savings to its underserved members.The $60,000 innovation grant will be used to create a “culture of savings” that will educate LCCU members and be used a model for other credit unions to follow.“We plan to develop and pilot three projects targeting three distinct age groups,” said Erika Bell, LCCU financial education director. “Our hope is that by influencing multiple generations, this will instill and perpetuate a culture of savings. The projects will get everyone involved in and learning about the concept of savings and will include monetary awards through long-term share certificates.”The primary goals of culture of savings is to increase the number of savings accounts and the amount of savings for children, youth and adults.“The implementation of this culture of savings initiative beginning in 2009 is particularly crucial,” said Luis Pastor, LCCU CEO. “We are planning to open three new branches and expand our financial education program. By implementing this initiative now, we will be able to attract, educate and retain new members.”Currently, the credit union has seven branches throughout North Carolina. LCCU served over 50,000 members, 95% of whom are Latino, 97% are low-income and 70% were previously unbanked.“The credit union can create opportunities for young families in this target population,” Pastor said. “Providing financial education in conjunction with access to affordable financial services, helping create credit histories and building toward homeownership are necessary steps to improve their lives.”This is the 11th of 14 innovation grants approved by the NCUF in 2008.–lsiegriest@cutimes.com

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