NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood reinforced his commitment to financial inclusion by announcing this week the launch of the agency’s new Advancing Communities through Credit, Education, Stability, and Support, or ACCESS, initiative.
“As Chairman, I have consistently characterized financial inclusion as the civil rights issue of the 21st century,” Chairman Hood said. “There is a clear business case for credit unions to enhance their outreach to underserved and underbanked populations. The NCUA will dedicate resources from across its lines of business to bring more Americans into the financial mainstream and provide them with greater access to safe and affordable financial services.”
The ACCESS initiative will bring together leaders across NCUA to refresh and modernize regulations, policies, and programs in support of greater financial inclusion within the agency and the credit union system. It will build on earlier successes and address the financial services and financial literacy needs of underserved and diverse communities across the U.S, as well as expand opportunities for employment.
Efforts under this program include increasing access to credit and loan products, dedicating resources to help people make smart financial decisions, enhancing existing programs that encourage credit union membership and access to financial services, and fostering inclusive policies and outreach efforts in the community.
ACCESS builds on similar efforts underway at NCUA and in credit unions that include building diverse and inclusive workforces and supplier chains, enhancing support for minority depository institutions, and supporting initiatives aimed at increasing opportunity for all Americans.
“Government agencies can make a vital contribution in terms of coordinating efforts, helping to set appropriate standards, and directing resources where they can make a real difference,” Hood said. “That’s certainly what we’ve been doing and will continue to do at the NCUA.”