How CUs Can Work Miracles: Financial Ed, Home Ownership

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CUNA is offering credit unions the chance to perform miracles through two programs that promote home ownership and financial literacy, according to CUNA Chairman Juri Valdov. During the trade group's Future Forum conference, Valdov displayed a photo of a smiling Joyce Martinez standing in front of her new Tampa home-a moment Martinez called "a miracle" -financed by a loan made by GTE Federal Credit Union as part of CUNA's Home Loan Payment Relief Program (HLPR).

Valdov spoke of Martinez-a single mother who wanted to provide a stable home for her family-at CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference in February as a perfect example of how credit unions can deliver needed assistance to struggling, but hardworking people who just need a break.

Martinez may have called it "a miracle," but Valdov calls it just one more reason for credit unions to join the HLPR program. Some 140 credit unions are already participating.

Their total commitment so far amounts to $1.1 billion, and Valdov said his credit union, Northwest Federal Credit Union in Herndon, Va., was upping its own commitment.

"The program is broadening its appeal by adding a fixed-rate option, so take a look at it if you're not already involved," he said.

Valdov also proposed a National Financial Education Summit to be held on Sept. 26 in Washington.

The idea behind it is to bring the various organizations that work on financial literacy together so they can better coordinate efforts rather than duplicate them, he said.

"So much is being done by so many. It would be helpful if key participants came together to share their expertise and experience."

There's no better way to achieve the ultimate goal of assuring everyone that credit unions are "prepared to meet the inevitable economic challenges and help Americans make a successful journey to financial independence," said Valdov.

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