April 20, 2021

NAFCU to SBC: Support changes that allow all CUs to serve underserved areas

CapitolNAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler Monday wrote to the Senate Banking Committee to urge the committee to support a change to the Federal Credit Union Act that would allow all types of credit unions to add underserved areas to their field of membership. The letter, sent ahead of today's hearing examining the economy in rural communities, also highlighted how credit unions have stepped up for their communities throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

In the letter, Thaler noted a recent report from the Federal Reserve found that between 2012-2019 credit unions grew their branch presence in rural areas by 2 percent, while branch presence from both community banks and larger banks declined.

“Credit unions are proud to be at the forefront of efforts to expand financial services access to rural areas, many of which are underserved, and want to do more,” wrote Thaler. “However, not all credit unions can add underserved areas to their field of membership, making it challenging for some to expand in rural areas.”

Thaler noted that credit unions have been committed to helping members remain financially stable amid the coronavirus pandemic, with programs ranging from skip-a-pays to personal loans, and were able to provide desperately needed paycheck protection program (PPP) funds to many Main Street businesses that had been previously turned down by larger institutions.

During the hearing, Bill Bynum, president and CEO of NAFCU-member Hope Credit Union located in Jackson, Miss., will testify before the committee and offer the credit union perspective on this topic. 

NAFCU will monitor the hearing – set to begin at 10:00 a.m. Eastern – and update credit unions on any developments; the hearing will be available via livestream on the committee’s website.