FOM expansion, CDFI support would help CUs efforts to encourage homeownership

March 16, 2021

Credit unions have continued to provide a record-breaking number of mortgage loans, and continued their role in financial education, informing members of significant mortgage relief available to those negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. CUNA’s letter was sent Tuesday to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

“Credit unions remain committed to furthering financial inclusion for disproportionately underserved communities seeking to achieve the American Dream of homeownership,” the letter reads. “As not-for-profit, consumer-owned financial cooperatives, credit unions have a laser-focus on their mission of financial inclusion and serving their members.”

CUNA offers the following suggestions for Congress to support credit unions’ efforts to encourage homeownership: 

  • Expand field of membership to ensure that Federal law permits all Federal credit unions to serve underserved areas. Under current law, only multiple common bond credit unions are eligible to add underserved areas to their field of membership.
  • Support Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). Credit union CDFIs were and remain well positioned to help underserved areas recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and future crises and natural disasters. 
  • Consider creating a financing program, or liquidity facility, for mortgage servicers in need of assistance in order to preserve their ability to respond to the unprecedented levels of payment forbearance required to help families affected by the pandemic. 
  • Engage its oversight role to ensure the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) recapitalization plans for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are phased in on a schedule that prevents disruption of the secondary mortgage market, which credit unions have utilized at increasing rates in recent years.