Serving The Underserved Given NewMeaning

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. - (01/06/05) -- Over the last year the action inmembership expansions has shifted from the community base to addinglarge swaths of so-called underserved populations. Many of thelargest field of membership grants for federal credit unions lastyear, some including entire major U.S. cities, were approved underNCUA's underserved expansion program. The program, aimed atextending credit union service to low- and moderate-income people,has helped many large credit unions expand into new markets wherethey served existing select groups, and is helping others becomethe local community 'bank' in several large cities. Generally, anFOM qualifies as underserved if at least 20% of the population isbelow the poverty level or the median family income is below 80% ofthe national median. NCUA has previously approved federal creditunions to serve the entire the cities of Baltimore and Washington,D.C., both of which have large low income populations. And lastyear NCUA approved underserved expansions covering the city ofHouston and its two million inhabitants, and Richmond, Va. Lastmonth NCUA granted requests to serve several other cities throughits underserved program, including the nation's fourth-largestcity, Philadelphia (Philadelphia FCU), the twin cities of St. Pauland Minneapolis (Teacher FCU), Tucson, Ariz., (Sunwest FCU) andWashington, D.C., again (Treasury Department FCU).

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