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New Mexico hosts REAL Solutions conference
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (9/2/10)--New Mexico recently hosted a conference to discuss REAL Solutions, the signature program of the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF), said the Credit Union Association of New Mexico.
Click to view larger image Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO) President LaDonna Harris, left, and AIO ambassador Benita BigFoot talk about the cultural, traditional and historical differences that make Native Americans a unique challenge for credit unions that want to provide services to underserved communities. (Photo provided by the Credit Union Association of New Mexico)
Lois Kitsch, national program manager for REAL Solutions, led the conference, which was attended by credit union professionals nationwide. Several representatives of state leagues and associations discussed the development and implementation of their REAL Solutions efforts and the challenges and successes of the program and its mission of serving people of modest means and the underserved. Individual credit unions told the group about their own REAL Solutions programs. The group also participated in “Living In the Shoes of Your Members,” a poverty simulation activity. Each attendee was a member of a low-income “family” and had to pay for rent, travel, food, utilities and unexpected expenses for a “month.” Attendees also heard about the challenges of serving American Indians. They include a cultural disparity about wealth and ownership and modern-day problems, such as payday lenders, which hinder Native American efforts to make the most of their wealth from natural resources and casinos, said LaDonna Harris, president of Americans for Indian Opportunity. However, the Native American community holds unique potential for credit unions to provide products, services and financial literacy, she added.
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