Letters To The Editor: Other Underserved Issued Under-Discussed

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I really enjoyed Frank J. Diekmann's editorial in the Feb. 27 Credit Union Journal. Although he was discussing credit union conversion and loss of members' rights, which is perpetuated by those who should protect them, I believe the underserved are under-talked about in several situations.

My passion is credit unions and underserved consumers. Nobody really talks about underserved people, they talk about underserved areas. The overall perception of the underserved consumer is not positive. Poor, lazy, stupid and high-risk seem to be some of the descriptions that I have heard. Maybe not in such harsh words but it is there just the same.

My definition of underserved consumers is those people who do not fall into the "A" spotlight. The people that work hard, take care of their families and do the best they can to make life better. Not everyone has a substantial income, education or access to financial services.

Credit unions are saying loan demand is down. Why? Maybe it is because many credit unions do not take risks. They would rather compete with the banks and then try to insist they are helping the consumer. It seems to me that finance and check-cashing companies have no trouble attracting business. Even our highest rates are lower than those companies.

I recently talked to a board chairman of a large credit union that had just added several underserved areas to their field of membership. He was very concerned that they were not making loans in the area. He said, "We are looking for a way to help those who have a credit score under 650." That should tell us something!

I am passionate about helping people. And I also believe that credit unions everywhere want to help people. The key is taking a little risk.

Sharon Angle, President/CEO

Butte FCU, Biggs, Calif.

Letters To The Editor:

The Credit Union Journal welcomes Letters to the Editor. E-Mail: Fdiekmann cujournal.com, or write P.O. Box 4387, West Palm Beach, FL 33462

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