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CU System
iNPRi covers CUs rescue of bankless community
ALBURGH, Vt. (3/30/12)--The story of a Vermont credit union that saved a small town from losing its financial services provider has drawn media coverage from National Public Radio (NPR).

The article, published online, describes how NorthCountry FCU in South Burlington, Vt., stepped in to provide financial services to residents of the small town of Alburgh, Vt., after People's United Bank announced it was closing its branch in the town. The closure left the community with no financial services.

Community residents formed a Find a Bank Committee to recruit a financial institution to come to town.

NorthCountry FCU, based in South Burlington, Vt., "answered the call," the NPR article says.

When she learned people's bank was closing its Alburgh branch, Irene Clarke, one of the Find a Bank Committee's co-founders, realized the community's businesses would suffer without access to financial services.

Find A Bank committee co-founder Terry Tatro said NorthCountry's presence will help keep the town alive.

"If people have to go out of town to do their banking, they're going to do other services out of town also," Tatro told NPR. "Sooner or later, all you're going to have left is a bedroom community. We're close to that now, and we want to go the other way."

Having a local relationship with a financial institution matters to small businesses, according to a study by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the article said.

Credit unions are trying to get their member business lending (MBL) cap raised so they can provide local businesses loans. Increasing the MBL cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25% of assets would inject $13 billion in new funds into the economy, creating as many as 140,000 new jobs in the first year after enactment, estimates CUNA.


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