House passes bill modernizing credit union fields of membership

June 15, 2022

The House passed the CUNA-League-led Expanding Financial Access for Underserved Communities Act Wednesday as part of a larger financial services bill. CUNA, Leagues, credit unions, and system partners strongly support the bill, and engaged House members throughout the process.

“This bill will let credit unions do more of what they do best: promote financial well-being and advance the communities they serve,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “Thanks to the members who supported this legislation, and we look forward to continued work to keep this much-needed update to the Federal Credit Union Act moving forward.”

Expanding Financial Access for Underserved Communities Act represents the most significant update to the Federal Credit Union Act since 1998. It would:

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

House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., introduced the bill shortly after the 2022 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference.

More than 750 census tracts are financial deserts, and a net 7,800+ bank branches closed between January 2005 and March 2021, according to CUNA research. Credit unions opened more than 1,400 net credit union branches over the same time period.