WASHINGTON (7/16/08)—Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged credit unions Tuesday for their products that provide alternatives to high-cost payday loans. At a Senate Banking Committee hearing on monetary policy, Bernanke was queried by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) about what must be done to protect consumers from high-cost payday loans and encourage the development of affordable payday loan alternatives. The Fed chairman responded that he believes competition is the best solution, but then gave the nod to credit unions: “And I think banks and credit unions--I give particular credit to credit unions. They have done some particularly good work in terms of providing remittance services to allow people to get money back to their families without exorbitant costs.” Bernanke added that he would encourage all financial institutions to continue outreach efforts to underserved communities. He said he also supports financial education efforts. The senator from Hawaii also noted credit union efforts to provide alternatives to payday loans. Akaka said that as a result of a National Credit Union Administration grant, Community FCU, Kailua, has developed an affordable alternative to payday loans, which he said are popular with members of the U.S. Marines and other members.