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Lakota reservation hopes to get first CU
KYLE, S.D. (12/22/11)--A proposed credit union that will serve the Lakota tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota has received preliminary approval.

The Pine Ridge Reservation covers about 3,500 square miles and is home to about 40,000 Lakota Indians, but lacks a traditional financial institution (Rapid City Journal Dec. 21).

The proposed Lakota FCU would offer secured and unsecured personal loans; savings accounts; ATM cards with access to no-fee ATMs in each of the reservation's nine reservation districts; direct deposit for paychecks; and low-fee check cashing and money order services.

If approved, Lakota FCU would be chartered and federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

The credit union's sponsor is Lakota Funds, a certified Native Community Development Financial Institution under the U.S. Treasury Department.  Since 1986, Lakota Funds has made small loans to help start and grow businesses. Its loan portfolio exceeds $4.4 million.

Earlier this year, Lakota Funds received a $149,560 technical assistance grant as part of the Treasury Department's Native American Community Development Financial Institution Assistance Program (News Now Aug. 25).

Tawney Brunsch, executive director of Lakota Funds, told the newspaper she has received commitments for $600,000 in deposits--including funds from local businesses--for the credit union, enough to ensure stable cash flow.

Brunsch said she is optimistic NCUA will approve the credit union in the first quarter of 2012.


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