EUGENE, Ore. (1/14/09)--O.U.R. FCU received grant funding for several programs that will help the Eugene, Ore.-based credit union build upon its efforts to provide personal service to residents of Lane County. A $90,000 grant from the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) via the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (NFCDCU) will allow the $4.1 million asset O.U.R. to continue offering free home ownership counseling presented in three formats: the Lifeline Financial Education peer environment program, one-on-one financial education, and HUD’s NeighborWorks Realizing the American Dream curriculum--which also includes one-on-one interaction. During 2007 and 2008, a similar grant allowed O.U.R. to provide personal assistance to more than 1,600 Lane County residents. O.U.R. is one of two Oregon credit unions that have received HUD grant funds. “I want to extend a special thanks to U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-4th) and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D) for their continued support of HUD’s home ownership counseling program. Every year they come through with letters of support here locally and nationally,” said Loretta Moesta, CEO of O.U.R. FCU. In another area of financial counseling, the credit union received a $60,000 grant from the Human Services Commission of Lane County to provide financial education to individuals who participate in the county’s qualified energy assistance programs. O.U.R. FCU was also selected as an Internal Revenue Service Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. The VITA Program offers free tax help to people with low- to moderate incomes--generally, $42,000 and below--who cannot prepare their own tax returns. The program offers free electronic filing. O.U.R FCU is the sole credit union VITA site in Oregon. A $5,000 grant through the NFCDCU has helped the credit union offer this service. The credit union received a $15,000 grant from the National Credit Union Administration to implement a debit card program, which will provide greater convenience to the credit union’s membership. “It’s a tremendous point of pride for us to be able to offer a variety of financial assistance to our community,” Moesta said. “The feeling that we’ve lived up to our philosophy of ‘people helping people’ is never stronger than when we know that we’ve helped a family keep its home, or we’ve heard that because of the credit union, a person has been able to reestablish credit. "As a member-owned financial cooperative, we aren’t tied to a credit score--we are able to work within our regulations to meet the needs of our community,” he added.