One of the most important things that Congress could do to close economic disparities, promote financial inclusion, and help small businesses would be to ensure that federal law permits all federal credit unions to serve underserved areas, CUNA wrote to the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Thursday.
The committee conducted a hearing on the state of the American economy, and CUNA noted its support of legislation that would help financial inclusion.
“CUNA strongly supports the Expanding Financial Access for Underserved Communities Act, which would allow all federal credit unions to add underserved areas to their field of membership and exempt business loans made by credit unions in low-income areas from the credit union member business lending cap,” the letter reads. “Furthermore, the legislation expands the definition of a low-income credit union to include any area that is more than 10 miles from the nearest branch of a financial institution.
“Credit unions’ field of membership restrictions and the member business lending cap shut out those that need access to mainstream financial services,” it adds. “This legislation takes a significant step forward in addressing financial inclusion for small businesses as well as all Americans. America’s credit unions urge support for the Expanding Financial Access for Underserved Communities Act.”