FOM modernization bill introduced in Senate

September 19, 2022

Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., introduced the CUNA and League-led Expanding Financial Access for Underserved Communities Act. The bill—which represents the most significant modernization of the Federal Credit Union Act since 1998—passed the House in June as part of a larger legislative package.

“We thank Sen. Padilla for his leadership in helping credit unions bring safe and affordable financial services to under- and unbanked communities,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “The House has already passed this bill, and we look to continue to gather support in the Senate for this much-needed update to credit union fields of membership.”

“The California Congressional delegation continues to speak with their actions to show their depth of support for credit unions. Allowing credit unions to serve banking deserts is vital for our state of over 40 million consumers. I would like to thank Senator Padilla for joining Chairwoman Waters as the leaders of this effort,” said Diana Dykstra, president/CEO of the California Credit Union League.

“Throughout Senator Padilla’s tenure in both the California Legislature, statewide office and now as our U.S. Senator, he has made a career out of standing up for our charter. He continues to represent the credit unions in our state and now nationally. We thank him and his team for his continual efforts to advocate for credit unions, and know he’ll become a household name in this industry,” noted Jeremy Empol, senior vice president of federal government affairs for the California Credit Union League. 

The legislation 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 any area that is more than ten miles from the nearest financial institution branch.

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.

House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., introduced the House version shortly after the 2022 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference and it passed out of the House in May.