WASHINGTON (3/9/16)--Modernizing field-of-membership (FOM) regulations would expand access to financial products and increase competition, thereby benefiting the American public, two congressmen told the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) this month.
Reps. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) and Paul Cook (R-Calif.) said the NCUA’s proposal will allow credit unions to continue to meet the needs of consumers, small businesses and the underserved.
“When finalized, this proposed rule will encourage competition among federal and state charters, which will provide consumers with greater flexibility and options in choosing the services that best fit their needs,” they wrote. “If our nation has learned one lesson from the financial crisis, it is that American consumers need access to affordable and honest services.
“Credit unions are known for the relationships they build with customers, and the trust they develop in communities,” they added.
The letter is a direct result of legislative visits and discussions between policymakers, credit union leaders and the California Credit Union League from last month’s Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), along with Reps. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.); Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.); Ami Bera (D-Calif.) and Joe Heck (R-Nev.), have also written to support the proposal.
In their letter, Aguilar and Cook particularly praised the proposal for giving credit unions the opportunity to serve greater geographic statistical areas, noting that San Bernardino County residents are still struggling from the aftermath of the financial crisis with an unemployment rate of 6.1%.
“Consumers in the county would benefit from expanded financial products and options, enabling them to find responsible lenders to purchase a new home, car and other products that are stepping stones to building a family’s financial success and stability,” they wrote.
Aguilar, a former credit union vice president, and Cook added that the proposed updates “remain consistent with the intent of the Federal Credit Union Act.”