Rural and underserved communities need access to a trusted, local financial partner, CUNA wrote to a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee Wednesday for its hearing on strengthening communications networks.
“Credit unions have taken action to help bridge the digital divide and create equitable digital access. Credit unions have donated digital devices to their community, supported grant programs, and connected their members to digital literacy programs,” the letter reads. “Of course, more needs to be done to ensure digital access and financial access, especially in rural and underserved communities.”
CUNA adds that the significant bank branch consolidation over the last 15 years has resulted in credit unions increasingly left as the local financial institution of record in local communities, making them well positioned to help.
“But credit unions face many barriers to fulfilling their mission to improve their members’ financial well-being and advance the communities they serve, including inadequate broadband availability to connect members to their credit unions,” the letter reads. “That is why we applaud the attention the Subcommittee is giving to these issues as well as the legislation aimed to make interagency interaction and communication around broadband deployment and availability a higher priority. Enhanced broadband availability and affordability is critical to financial inclusion and will help credit unions fulfill their mission.”