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Latino Community Welcomes New Business

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RALEIGH, N.C. — As the Hispanic population grows in the Triangle, so does the number of businesses for them. An important opening Friday in Raleigh will serve Hispanics on two fronts.

The Latino Community Credit union is not just another new bank. It is just the third credit union branch in North Carolina that offers full banking services to the Latino community.

State officials turned out Friday to recognize Hispanics as a driving force in the state's economy.

"I have, as a senator from North Carolina, heard too many cases of families who were cheated when they were trying to cash a check, get a loan, or wire money to a family member overseas," said Sen. John Edwards said.

"I'm very happy you can now take the money out from under the mattress and the refrigerator and put it into a safer place that doesn't promote a culture of crime," Rep. Sam Ellis said.

Congressman-elect Brad Miller recognized Hispanics as the political force that helped the state win the extra seat in Congress.

"The Census Bureau found those folks and counted them," Miller said. "So I am here because of the great work of the Hispanic leadership in this state."

A $50,000 donation from Wachovia Bank and a $30,000 donation from American Express helped launch the credit union.

Approximately 379,000 Hispanics call North Carolina home. More than five percent of Wake County's population is Hispanic, which is in line with the state average, but several other counties in the Triangle have a higher influx of Hispanics. They make up almost 12 percent of Lee County, one in 10 of the population of Chatham County and more than seven percent of Durham County.

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