A bill to allow federal credit unions to provide services to more underserved areas would help consumers who have trouble accessing mainstream financial services, CUNA wrote Thursday. The Financial Services for the Underserved Act (H.R. 5541) was introduced by Reps. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Donald Norcross (D-N.J.) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.).
“CUNA and the Ohio Credit Union League have been working with Rep. Ryan over the last several weeks to ensure the legislation achieves his objectives,” said Ryan Donovan, CUNA’s Chief Advocacy Officer. “We appreciate the support--it is further evidence that Congress is interested in consumers having more access to credit unions.
The bill would amend the Federal Credit Union Act to allow federal credit unions that are properly capitalized to apply to the NCUA to add underserved areas, based on census tracts, to their fields of membership.
“Your legislation would help credit unions serve the unbanked and underbanked by eliminating the requirement that credit unions must have a brick and mortar branch in a rural or underserved area in order to add the area to their field of membership,” CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle wrote to Ryan, Norcross and Kirkpatrick. “With today’s technology, having a physical branch in a community is not the only way a member can be served by their credit unions.”
As the legislation moves through Congress, Nussle urged the legislators to clarify that a termination provision in one section does not supersede a provision guaranteeing that someone who becomes a member under the exception does not lose membership status if the credit union later loses its ability to serve the approved area.