Three credit union associations started a program that linksexperienced credit union industry professionals and executives withsmall asset, minority owned and faith based credit unions.

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The New York City based National Federation of Community Development CreditUnions joined the Snellville, Ga., based African American Credit Union Coalition and the Washingtonbased Network of Latino Credit Unions and Professionals to create theMy Credit Union Mentor program.

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Pamela Owens, vice president for programs for the federation,said 12 experts have already signed up to be mentors and othershave called to inquire about joining the effort. Executives fromcredit unions, CUSOs and credit union associations are eligible tovolunteer as mentors, she explained.

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“Very small credit unions face all the same challenges as largercredit unions, often with fewer resources,” federationPresident/CEO Cathie Mahon said. “Preserving these credit unions –many of which are minority or faith-based – is critical. Oftenthese credit unions are the only financial institution in thecommunity. This mentorship program calls upon the cooperativenature of our industry to share expertise across our industry tothe benefit of all.”

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The mentors will help credit unions with strategic planning,lending, marketing, secondary capital, board governance,compliance, operations, budgeting and collections, the federationsaid. The list was not meant to be exhaustive and that the programmay offer other topics, such as internal fraud prevention, theorganization added.

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“We wanted to give credit unions an idea of the breadth oftopics that will be covered,” explained Clarissa Ritter, directorof marketing and communications for the National Federation. “Othertopics will also be available. We wanted credit unions tounderstand that if they lacked someone with a certain expertise inhouse they can still access that knowledge.”

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“The mentorship program will open opportunities for members andaffiliates of NLCUP to use their expertise by assisting otherswithin our credit union movement,” said Maria Martinez, board chairof the NCLCUP and president/CEO of the $125 million Border FederalCredit Union.

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“In the past, our NLCUP members have successfully transmittedtheir knowledge of our industry to our peers. Mentoring is a mutualprocess where everyone benefits; we've learned so much from others!NLCUP is ready for this challenge,” she added.

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Sheilah Montgomery, AACUC mentorship chair, concurred.

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“The AACUC board subscribes to the preservation of women-managedand minority-owned credit unions to promote diversity and inclusionand add value to the credit union movement,” she said.

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