As the National Credit Union Administration prepared to vote today on a Community Reinvestment Act-like plan for credit unions, the agency's chairman said support for the idea is building.

In a press release, Norman E. D'Amours cited recent endorsements from Consumers Union, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, 24 African-American lawmakers, and Rep. John J. LaFalce, ranking member of the House Banking Committee, as evidence.

"My goal is to construct a proposal that is not burdensome" yet encourages credit unions to provide "fairly priced financial services to low-income Americans," Mr. D'Amours said in the release. If approved by the three-member NCUA board, his plan would be issued for public comment, modified, and subject to a final vote.

The community service proposal has drawn fire since its unveiling July 28. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm has publicly ridiculed it as unnecessary and burdensome, as have key credit union trade associations and NCUA board member Dennis Dollar. Sen. Gramm has also promised to hold hearings if the NCUA issues the proposal today.

It is unclear how Yolanda T. Wheat, a Democrat and the NCUA board's only African-American member, will vote on the proposal. She and Mr. D'Amours are scheduled to speak today at a credit union forum sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus. -- Scott Barancik

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