CHARLESTON, S.C.-Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) had strong praise and words of encouragement for credit unions during the African-American Credit Union Coalition's annual conference here.

Waters congratulated credit unions "for not contributing to the economic financial crisis."

"Credit unions are the alternatives for people who will never get credit from other institutions and credit unions need to continue to work to get people out of pay day loans," said Waters.

Other notes from the conference:

* Keynote speaker Tom Glatt, Sr., senior managing partner of Centellect Consulting, led of the conference with a discussion on "Leading the Transition: Managing When the Economic Recovery Starts."

* NCUA Board Member Michael Fryzel stressed that "credit unions are there to serve and improve the lives of those we serve." Fryzel encouraged credit unions to partner with local schools in their area and to interact more with families and to publicize good deeds.

* Three college students (Ashley Watts, Carlton Edwards and Sarah Diggs) who interned this summer in credit unions received $2,000 each to further their education at historically black colleges and universities.

* Shirley Grace Jenkins, board secretary at Municipal Credit Union in New York, received the 10th Annual Pete Crear Lifetime Achievement Award during the meeting. Jenkins is a founding member of the AACUC and has more than 30 years of volunteer service in credit unions, including with the New York Credit Union Foundation, Credit Union Association of New York and the Credit Union Executives Society (CUES).

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