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Lakota FCU charter approved by NCUA
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (8/30/12)--Lakota FCU, a newly chartered low-income federal credit union, will begin serving the 40,000 people that live, work, worship, volunteer, attend school and transact business in South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation in November, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) said in a Wednesday release.

The agency said around 40,000 people will be able to access financial services through the credit union.

Noting that many Native Americans who live on reservations have access only to predatory lenders, NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz said the credit union "has the potential to play an important role on a 2.2 million-acre reservation that has no other access to federally insured financial services."

The credit union, which will be sponsored by Lakota Funds, a 26-year-old non-profit Community Development Financial Institution located in Kyle, S.D., plans to offer a number of financial options to its members. Those products include regular shares, share certificates, unsecured loans, share secured loans, auto loans, money orders, cashier checks, direct deposits, wire transfers, and check cashing, the NCUA said. Financial literacy and membership education initiatives will also be key elements of the credit union's mission.

Credit Union Association of the Dakotas President/CEO Robbie Thompson said Lakota Funds "has worked very hard at getting their new charter and getting this credit union up and running.

"They are in one of the poorest areas of the country and the people there will greatly benefit from having a credit union. Our Association is excited for them and the services that a credit union will bring to the reservation, and we look forward to supporting them any way we can," he added.

Lakota FCU is the second low-income federal credit union to be chartered in the past week. The NCUA last Friday approved the charter of New Brunswick, N.J.'s Internet Archive FCU. That credit union is scheduled to open in October and will offer regular share accounts, share secured loans and signature loans to members. (See Aug. 27 News Now story: 2012 sees its first new FCU charter)

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