WASHINGTON (2/10/16)--The National Credit Union Administration's (NCUA) field-of-membership (FOM) proposal is a positive step toward addressing the challenge of unbanked consumers, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) wrote to the agency this week. Sanchez is the ranking member of the House Ethics Committee, serves on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and is the sixth legislator to comment in support of the proposal.
The comment period for the FOM plan, which would modernize rules that govern who may join which credit union, closed Monday. Thousands of credit union stakeholders used Credit Union National Association (CUNA) resources to submit their comments. CUNA strongly supports the NCUA plan and encourages the agency to go even further to update its rules under its current legal authority.
NCUA Chair Debbie Matz said Tuesday during a webinar that the agency had received at least 11,000 comments on the proposal.
In her letter of support Sanchez wrote, "Whether in rural or urban communities, credit unions seek to fulfill the mission of service. Study after study shows that Latino communities have traditionally been underserved when it comes to financial services."
"I applaud the NCUA for recognition of this emerging problem and for this proposed field-of-membership rule that seeks to provide greater opportunities for my constituents to be able to join federal credit unions," she added.
Sanchez, who coordinated with the California Credit Union League when commenting on the proposal, said she was specifically pleased to see enhancements to the trade industry or profession (TIP) charter and expansion of membership eligibility to include the boundaries of congressional districts.
"Along with additional updates based on statistical geographic area, the new charter could bolster opportunities for access, and bring those that are traditionally unbanked into the system of insured financial savings," she wrote. "The proposed charter changes are consistent with the intent of the Federal Credit Union Act."
Reps. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) and Ami Bera (D-Calif.) also wrote to the NCUA in support of the proposal.
CUNA's comment letter is available here.