Members of the Congress, ladies and gentlemen:
We have come here this afternoon to strengthen the Federal credit unions--some of the little-known building blocks of democracy.
The credit union story tells of do-it-yourself progress, of thrift, and of voluntary cooperation that is put to work for the good of America.
Half of the Nation's 23,000 credit unions are chartered and supervised by the Federal Government--the other half are supervised by the States.
But the members--and no one else--own and operate these credit unions.
In plants, in offices, in fraternal organizations, and military bases, wherever Americans have a bond of association or occupation, credit unions serve them. Credit unions have only one purpose: to help their members save and to help their members borrow money at minimum cost.
The credit union is another instrument of consumer protection.
--It helps the elderly guard their precious retirement incomes.
--It helps the serviceman and the worker escape the loan shark.
--It helps the poor, who too often must pay the most for the credit they get.
President Franklin Roosevelt knew the value of these peoples' institutions when he signed the first Federal Credit Union Act of 1934.
The bill that I sign today, we think, strengthens our Federal credit unions. It allows them to:
--Lend money more easily.
--Pay dividends twice as often, and
--It allows them to pay dividends for a whole month on deposits received during the first 10 days of the month.
A credit union can be another weapon in the war on poverty.
For example: A year ago a Federal credit union was set up on Leech Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota.
One of its 6 members is a World War II veteran. He lost his wife in an accident. He is now trying to raise six children by himself. But in a year he had been able to save $300. He has enrolled his children in the credit union because he has already learned the benefits of thrift.
This man is going to try to break the chains of poverty that bind him. He has made a move toward self-sufficiency, toward self-respect, toward personal dignity. He has become a leader in his community. He has changed his way of life.
That is just one case that we can cite today. But multiply Leech Lake by the other 23,000 credit unions. Multiply this one man by the other 19 million members. Multiply his $300 until you reach the total assets of credit unions: $12.5 billion.
So the product is the story of our credit unions--a story that I think every American can be proud of. For credit unions are making us a stronger nation in 19 million ways every day. These savings are a foundation of America's bright future.
We are so pleased that the Members of Congress, who have provided the leadership--Senator Sparkman, Congressman Patman, and the minority members on their committees--have brought us this legislation.
It gives me great satisfaction to be here this afternoon and to approve it.