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CU provides service to underserved
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (10/8/10)--Express CU of Seattle, Wash., has deployed four community service representatives (CMSR) to 12 local non-profit organizations to offer better access to financial services to the underserved. The nearly $10 million asset credit union is one of many continuing to provide services ranging from low-interest loans to financial literacy programs during a prolonged recession that left a growing segment of the U.S. population financially underserved. Express CU's CMSR program serves organizations dedicated to helping the homeless and entrepreneurs seeking to start businesses in financially distressed areas. "We want to offer people smarter options when it comes to managing their money," said Norma Hernandez, president/CEO of Express CU. "We have doubled our membership in the year since we initiated this program, with 40% of the new members signing up through our CMSRs. During the CMSRs' on-site office hours, visitors to the non-profits can open accounts, deposit checks, apply for loans and discuss financial matters. The CMSRs provide basic financial education and referrals to formal programs offered through their non-profit partners. Since cash transactions are not supported at the non-profit locations, the credit union teamed up with CO-OP Financial Services to offer ATM access and shared branching locations. As a result, Express CU now provides members access to more than 150 ATMs in Seattle, 1,000 in Washington and 28,000 nationwide, 9,000 of which access deposits. "About 90% of our new members would not be able to use our services without the convenient access they have to ATMs and branches provided by CO-OP Network and CO-OP Shared Branching," said Hernandez. About 25.6% of American households don't have a checking or savings account, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The underserved includes the poor, the young, non-English speakers and small business owners who can't get loans despite creditworthiness.


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