RALEIGH, N.C. — State Employees' Credit Union (SECU), a $29-billion institution based in Raleigh, N.C., announced that President Barack Obama praised SECU for providing its consumer loan members with free access to their FICO credit scores.

Obama mentioned SECU, among other financial institutions, during a speech before the Federal Trade Commission on Monday in which he discussed the problem of identity theft.

Providing FICO scores to borrowers represented one way to help recognize incidents of such identity theft, SECU noted.

The speech before the FTC came just days ahead of the Jan. 20 State of the Union address, in which Obama is expected to explore a comprehensive ways to safeguard consumers' financial security and tamp down on identity theft.

"As a member-owned cooperative that strongly advocates for its members and their financial health, SECU wholeheartedly supports President Obama's efforts to highlight the beneficial aspects of providing credit scores to consumers," said Mark Kretzschmar, senior vice president of SECU loan servicing, in a statement.

Given the importance of consumers knowing their credit scores, the credit union partnered with FICO last year to provide active borrowers with free access to their FICO scores through its website.

FICO is a trademark of Fair Isaac Corp.

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