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Mayor CUs embrace what banks are forced to do
NEWARK, N.J. (1/16/09)--In contrast to banks,“credit unions embrace what banks have been forced to do through the Community Reinvestment Act,” said Newark Mayor Cory Booker when he addressed the January meeting of the New Jersey Credit Union League’s Essex-West Hudson chapter.
From left, Paul Gentile, president/CEO of the New Jersey Credit Union League; Cory Booker, Newark, N.J., mayor; and Calvin Jackson, league board director and president/CEO of St. James AME FCU, posed at the January meeting of the New Jersey Credit Union League’s Essex-West Hudson chapter. (Photo provided by the New Jersey Credit Union League)
Booker praised the credit union movement’s values and noted the critical role credit unions play in helping empower individuals and communities. “Credit unions epitomize the very ideals upon which our nation was founded,” Booker said. He commended the league’s legislative initiative to allow credit unions to become eligible depositories for municipalities as a way for credit unions to further support their communities. Booker also mentioned the need for the type of products and services the league and the New Jersey Credit Union Foundation hope to bring to credit unions through the REAL Solutions program, the program to build wealth among middle and low-incomers. He cited Volunteer Income Tax Assistance centers--one component or REAL Solutions--as the type of community outreach for which credit unions are ideally suited. “Mayor Booker is an impressive figure in New Jersey Politics,” said Paul Gentile, league president/CEO. “Credit unions have a tremendous presence in Newark, and we will assist Booker whenever we can in helping him achieve his goal of revitalizing Newark.” Having lawmakers and government officials such as Booker speak at chapter meetings is one way the league is attempting to enhance the state’s chapter system and raise awareness of credit unions, Gentile noted. “With 216 credit unions, 1.2 million members and $10 billion in assets, New Jersey credit unions need to be recognized as a force in New Jersey,” Gentile said. “We will use the chapter system to raise our profile among government leaders.” Elected mayor in 2006 on his second attempt at the office, Booker has earned one of the highest approval ratings of any elected official in New Jersey and has received attention from the national media. Filmmaker Marshal Curry chronicled Booker’s 2002 unsuccessful mayoral campaign in a documentary, “Street Fight,” which was nominated for the 2005 Academy Award for Best Documentary.
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