NEW YORK (3/12/08)--During its first year, more than 40 credit unions offered BALANCE, the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions’ free financial counseling and education service, helping more than 1,000 members. BALANCE also offers foreclosure prevention advice and debt consolidation. “BALANCE is such a valuable benefit to our members that we will make it one of our core services, without outside subsidy,” said federation CEO Cliff Rosenthal. This year’s program was offered at no cost to CDCUs under $35 million in assets, an increase from last year’s offer to CDCUs under $25 million in assets, Rosenthal said. Most of the federation’s 232 member credit unions qualify for the free service. Women’s Southwest FCU, Dallas, was one credit union helped by the program. “Some people don’t want to or can’t come into the credit union and talk to us about their finances, and this program allows members to discuss their financial issues with someone truly anonymous on their own time,” said Women’s Southwest CEO Teri Portillo. A group of credit unions funded the bulk of the cost of providing BALANCE to small credit unions. Credit unions that helped launch the program include:
* America First CU, Odgen, Utah; * Andrews FCU, Suitland, Md.; * Boeing Employees CU, Seattle; * GTE FCU, Tampa, Fla.; * Navy FCU, Vienna, Va.; * Orange County Teachers FCU, Santa Ana, Calif.; * Patelco CU, San Francisco; * Suncoast Schools FCU, Tampa, Fla.; and * Truliant CU, Winston-Salem, N.C.