Bill would expand opportunities to those w/ minor offenses

October 14, 2021

Credit unions understand that as the workforce changes, the ways credit unions engage with it must also change, CUNA wrote to House Financial Services Committee leadership Thursday. CUNA wrote in support of the Expanding Opportunities in Banking Act, draft legislation that would amend the Federal Credit Union Act to expand employment opportunities for those with a previous minor criminal offense.

“Racial disparities in sentencing have resulted in overrepresentation of people of color in our prisons and jails. As we work to deepen our efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion ensuring that we do right be these groups is critical,” the letter reads. “We believe certain minor mistakes may be worthy of forgiveness and second chances, and individuals who committed minor offenses when they were still at an impressionable age deserve a greater opportunity for redemption.”

CUNA supported then-NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood’s 2019 “second chance” interpretive rule and policy statement, which updated and revised statutory prohibitions on any person who has been convicted of any criminal offense involving dishonesty or breach of trust, or who has entered into a pretrial diversion or similar program in connection with a prosecution for such offense, from participating in the affairs of an insured credit union.

“More than a quarter of formerly incarcerated people are unemployed; this unemployment rate is worse than the Great Depression. It’s not surprising then, that there is a prison to poverty pipeline. The poverty experienced by formerly incarcerated has ripple effects in our communities,” the letter reads. “Providing opportunities for a second chance is a civic responsibility and makes good business sense. Employing formerly incarcerated individuals has a positive impact on employee satisfaction, demonstrates our commitment to our community, and enlarges our labor pool.”