WANTED: CU Volunteers For Katrina ReliefBid

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WASHINGTON - (10/05/05) -- NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson joinedofficials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency andrepresentatives from other government officials at the White HouseTuesday to launch an unprecedented volunteer initiative aimed atproviding financial and legal assistance to victims of HurricaneKatrina. The government-wide initiative, called Project RestoreHOPE, aims to recruit part- and full-time volunteers with creditunion, banking, insurance, accounting and legal backgrounds toprovide the estimated 1.3 million Katrina victims with criticalcounseling and support at: financial help call centers, FEMAdisaster recover sites, local facilities and virtual help centerson the Internet. The volunteers will be being asked to help obtainlost or destroyed financial records, counsel on emergency budgetingand credit management, work with creditors and mortgage lenders,make referrals to disaster relief agencies, and prepare insuranceclaims. "The credit union community has responded with greatcompassion," said Johnson, of the Katrina relief efforts so far. "Iencourage that spirit to continue through this effort at providingfinancial counseling and support for those who are in great need ofeconomic empowerment more than ever." Johnson urged credit unionprofessionals nationwide, as well as NCUA staff, to lend theirexpertise to the effort. The initiative is being organized byOperation HOPE, a faith-based program supported by the government,as well as the White House, the Treasury Department, FDIC,Comptroller of the Currency and Office of Thrift Supervision.Several private sector entities have already made major financialcontributions, including First American Corp., which has donated$500,000 towards calls centers and virtual help center programs,and E*Trade Financial, which also donated $500,000 to helpuninsured homeowners and families who can not afford securitydeposits to rent new homes.

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