CUs can address barriers to women, minority-owned businesses

February 3, 2022

Women- and minority-owned businesses (MWBEs) often face barriers when it comes to access to credit and financial services, CUNA wrote to the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion Thursday. The subcommittee conducted a hearing on financial barriers to MWBEs.

“As not-for-profit, consumer-owned financial cooperatives credit unions are laser-focused on our mission of financial inclusion and serving our members,” the letter reads. “To that end, credit unions recognize that access to capital is critical to ensuring the survival of many of our nation’s most vulnerable small businesses, including minority and women-owned businesses, which together represent approximately 66% of U.S. small businesses.”

The letter notes that Congress can help credit unions lend more to businesses but are limited by the statutory member business lending cap of 12.25% of assets.

“The Expanding Financial Access for Underserved Communities Act exempts business loans made by credit unions to businesses in underserved areas from the credit union member business lending cap and would make it easier for consumers in areas without sufficient financial services providers to access credit unions,” the letter reads. “We strongly support this legislation and believe it represents a solid step forward toward financial inclusion.