Landmark FOM bill introduced in wake of CUNA GAC

March 9, 2022

The CUNA/League-supported Expanding Financial Access for Underserved Communities Act was introduced by House Financial Services Committee Chair Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., Wednesday. The bill would be the first significant overhaul of the Federal Credit Union Act since 1998 and would make several updates to credit union field of membership and member business lending requirements, including addressing credit unions’ ability to serve underserved and marginalized communities.

“Thank you to Chairwoman Waters for introducing this bill that would help increase access to safe and affordable credit union services to underserved communities across the country,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “This bill will allow credit unions to further fulfill their congressional mandate by being there for consumers left un- and underbanked by companies putting profit ahead of people.”

Specifically, the bill would:

  • Allow all federal credit unions to add underserved areas to their field of membership
  • Exempt business loans made by credit unions in underserved areas from the credit union member business lending cap.
  • Expand the definition of an underserved area to include any area that is more than 10 miles from the nearest branch of a financial institution.

The landmark legislation was introduced on the heels of the 2022 CUNA GAC, where nearly 4,500 credit union advocates shared how they improve their members’ financial well-being and advance their communities with lawmakers, and is the product of continued CUNA, League, and credit union advocacy.

“This bill is a great example of the collaborative superpower that the CUNA/League system brings to credit union advocacy,” said CUNA Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan. “Thank you to the California Credit Union League for helping get this critical legislation introduced.”

“The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues has been and continues to be thrilled to work alongside Chairwoman Waters on advancing this critical piece of legislation,” said Diana Dykstra, president/CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. “Credit unions alone cannot solve the banking desert issue, however, credit unions cannot contribute to the solution if outdated field of membership restrictions remain a barrier.

“Our team has been working on this concept with Chairwoman Waters for over a year to amass a winning coalition and to work the legislative process the right way,” she added. “We applaud her efforts and those willing to join us in resolving this issue in order to advance America's communities.”

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., is an original cosponsor of the bill.