Goldstein: CUs serve underserved

Treasury official promises continued reform of the housing market.

February 28, 2011

When it comes to serving the nine million American households that are unbanked and the 21 million households that are underbanked, credit unions offer a lot of value to their communities, said Treasury Under Secretary for Domestic Finance Jeffrey Goldstein, at yesterday’s Opening General Session.

Not having a credit union or bank relationship relegates those consumers to high-cost financial service providers—options they can’t afford. Goldstein promised that Title XII of the Dodd-Frank Act will help those consumers get access to affordable financial services, and he urged credit unions to participate in the Bank on USA program to improve access to affordable financial services.

Goldstein also promised continued reform of the housing market, noting that the Obama administration has announced plans to address the multiple problems of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a timely, but appropriate, manner.

He said the administration will balance reform with an appropriate pace to avoid pushing the critical housing market into new problems.

Housing reform means all Americans should have access to housing they can afford, but it doesn’t mean every American will be—or should be—a homeowner. He noted that credit unions and community banks need access to credit markets to help sustain the mortgage market.

The appropriate role of government is to ensure access to the mortgage market and eliminate the risk to taxpayers, Goldstein said. For now that means “supporting Fannie and Freddie as they wind down.”

“The housing market is central to the broader economy and needs to be a source of stability,” Goldstein said, promising that the Obama administration will not move with undue haste.

• Read more GAC coverage here.