ALEXANDRIA, Va. (11/21/07)--National Credit Union Administration Chairman JoAnn Johnson noted five credit unions as examples of the positive impact the financial services cooperatives are having on American Indian and Native Alaskan communities. In a release that acknowledged President George W. Bush’s designation of November as National American Indian Heritage Month, the NCUA said its Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF) program, along with the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institution Fund (CDFI), have been important sources of assistance to low-income credit unions, including those serving Native communities. The credit unions cited by the NCUA were:
* Lac Courte Oreilles FCU, Hayward, Wis., which received CDRLF assistance to help members with basic financial services, home ownership, and credit building. The credit union also has been proactive with financial literacy initiatives by offering classes covering budgeting; working with checking and savings accounts; understanding credit; and other issues facing their local economy; * Bear Paw CU, Havre, Mont., which used its CDRLF assistance for software upgrades, staff training, and financial education for its members, which includes residents of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation; * CR Community First FCU, Eagle Butte, S. D., chartered by the NCUA earlier this year to serve 12,000 residents of the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in Dewey and Ziebach Counties. The credit union organizers worked with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Council, the Cheyenne River Housing Authority, and NCUA staff to obtain the charter, and the credit union has received a low-income designation; * Wolf Point FCU, Wolf Point, Mont., in partnership with the CDFI fund, provides important financial services to Native Americans in the Wolf Point community’ and * Tongass FCU, Metlakatla, Ak., has initiated financial education and savings programs to schools in the communities it serves, helping to promote the importance of savings at an early age.
“The President's proclamation of November 2007 National American Indian Heritage Month presents an opportunity to underscore the way credit unions are fostering financial stability for American Indian and Alaskan Native communities,” said Johnson. “I am particularly pleased with the central role that financial literacy programs are playing in American Indian and Native-focused credit unions as they help members move along a path of financial health and well-being,” she added.