Former Senator Sarbanes passes away at 87

December 7, 2020

Former Senator Paul Sarbanes, who strongly supported numerous credit union priorities during his 30 years in the Senate, passed away over the weekend at the age of 87. Sarbanes served in the Senate from 1977 to 2007, including a stint as the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, and served as a U.S. Representative from Maryland from 1971 to 1977.

“Sen. Paul Sarbanes was a steadfast champion for credit unions during his more than three decades of service in Congress, including his 30 year-tenure in the Senate. His leadership in the Senate helped secure votes for the Credit Union Membership Access Act, ultimately enabling millions of Americans to benefit from the credit union difference,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “We were honored to host him several times at CUNA GAC, where he always shared his thoughts on the importance of credit union advocacy with attendees. His family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers."

Then-CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica praised Sarbanes as a “bulwark in the Senate” for his support of the Credit Union Membership Access Act, ensuring the legislation would not be derailed.

Sarbanes reminded credit unions to protect their tax status by continuing to fulfill their mission by promoting thrift and providing necessary financial services to those of modest means during his “farewell” message to credit unions at the 2006 CUNA GAC.

"I believe strongly in the traditional work that credit unions do," Sarbanes said at the time.

He also drafted legislation supported by CUNA and the Maryland Credit Union League in 2005 that would put in statute credit unions' ability to send remittances and cash checks for anyone eligible for their field of membership.