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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 7, 1998


Today I am pleased to sign into law H.R. 1151, the "Credit Union Membership Access Act," which will ensure that millions of Americans have the choice of getting consumer financial services from a credit union.

Our credit unions are special institutions. Providing primarily consumer loans -- for cars, education, home improvement and home purchases -- and other financial services, like checking accounts and certificates of deposit, they are democratically controlled, member-owned cooperatives, with volunteer, unpaid directors. Because they are not-for-profit organizations, credit unions often can charge lower fees, require lower minimum deposits, and provide more personalized service.

Early this year, a decision by the Supreme Court created uncertainty about the future of credit unions in a case about how credit unions could draw their membership. This bill will restore membership flexibility to credit unions, allowing, for example, employees of a number of smaller companies or members of a number of churches to join together to form a credit union. The bill also provides important new safety and soundness reforms. Unfortunately, the bill does not include some important reforms to reaffirm the responsibility of credit unions to meet the needs of low- and moderate-income persons, and to assess their performance in meeting that goal. However, on balance, this bill will significantly strengthen credit unions, which provide so many benefits to consumers.


                              THE WHITE HOUSE,
                              August 7, 1998.
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