NEW YORK (1/13/15)--Credit unions in New York City will be able to serve those who obtain the new municipal identification cards introduced by Mayor Bill de Blasio and approved by the New York City Council in June, according to the New York Credit Union Association (NYCUA).
The new municipal-identification program--the largest in the United States--is intended to aid undocumented immigrants, the homeless and other economically disadvantaged citizens who, without proper identification, struggle to access city services, which are often essential to such populations (The New York Times Jan. 12).
Those carrying the city's new ID cards will be able to receive discounts for prescription drugs; access city buildings and free memberships to zoos and museums; check out books at the city's libraries; and open accounts at credit unions and banks.
"For New Yorkers who couldn't have an official ID, this card is the key to a fuller life," de Blasio said in a statement.
The National Credit Union Administration recently gave an opinion that the cards would in fact be valid at New York City's credit unions, according to Michael Lanotte, senior vice president/general counsel for NYCUA.
There are more than 120 credit unions in New York City. The cards, called IDNYC cards, are available to those 14 years of age and older, The Times reported.
"There are a lot of immigrant populations in the city, and many are being served by credit unions in that area of the state," Lanotte told News Now. "Credit unions have been very focused on those of low- and moderate-income needs, especially in the immigrant population. For them to be able to use this form of ID, helping those folks open accounts ... is obviously something we would support."
"The bigger concern was (whether) credit unions could rely on them from a regulatory standpoint," Lanotte added, regarding the recent NCUA opinion to authorize acceptance of the cards.
Working alongside the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, NYCUA participated in number of meetings with the mayor's office leading up to the rollout of the ID card program.
NYCUA also held a joint webinar with the national federation to educate credit unions about the program and about the ID card itself, according to Lanotte.
Specific questions regarding the ID card program should be emailed to David Friedman, senior policy adviser at the New York Department of Consumer Affairs.