Yesterday, the U.S. House passed H.R. 2543, the Expanding Financial Access for Underserved Communities Act, as part of a larger financial services bill. Cornerstone, CUNA, other leagues, credit unions, and system partners strongly support the bill and engaged House members throughout the process.
The Expanding Financial Access for Underserved Communities Act represents the most significant update to the Federal Credit Union Act since 1998. This is also the first time since 2008 that the U.S. House has passed field of membership reform through the chamber. The vote on final passage was 215–207.
The bill 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 10 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. The bill now proceeds to the Senate.
“Yesterday’s action in the House was a significant step in enabling credit unions to serve more underserved areas,” said Jim Phelps, Cornerstone EVP and chief advocacy officer. “According to CUNA research, more than 750 census tracts are financial deserts, and a net 7,800+ bank branches closed between January 2005 and March 2021. Credit unions opened more than 1,400 net credit union branches over the same period.”
Please stay tuned for more updates as Cornerstone works to advance this legislation. If you have questions, contact Jim Phelps at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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