Eligible Underserved Tops 17M

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NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar said the number of low-income people who have been made eligible for credit union service this year has now topped 17 million.

Dollar's comments came during a teleconference hosted last week by CUNA to discuss his "Access Across America" initiative.

During 2001, the agency reported that 16-million low-income Americans became eligible for membership.

"The results have been beyond our wildest imagination," CUNA quoted Dollar as saying.

According to NCUA, from January through September 184 federal credit unions adopted 303 underserved areas with a population of more than 17 million Americans (outreach efforts of state-chartered CUs are not included in those figures).

Dollar told CUNA NCUA is already seeing membership growth in these areas.

"It's going to take time; this is a relatively new opportunity," he explained. "It will probably be 10 years before we're able to look back and see just how dramatic the impact will be in these communities-but already we're seeing 5% to 7% membership growth for credit unions after adopting these areas.

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