Representatives Ryan, Norcross and Kirkpatrick Introduce Legislation to Give Underserved Communities Access to Credit Unions

Jun 22, 2016 Issues: Helping Working Families

Washington, DC – Representatives Tim Ryan (OH-13), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01) recently introduced the Financial Services for the Underserved Act of 2016 (HR 5541), which would grant those living in underserved and low-income communities the expanded access to insured financial institutions that they need so deeply. Currently, residents of underserved communities have very few banking options, many of them at a high cost to the consumer.  Allowing credit unions the opportunity to provide low and no-cost financial services in underserved communities would enable much needed growth and financial security.

“Right now millions of Americans living in underserved communities have very little or no access to banking options. This should never be a problem in America. I am proud to introduce this legislation with Representatives Norcross and Kirkpatrick to give our friends and neighbors the same access to safe and reliable credit unions that many of us take for granted every day. This is an important tool that could help millions, and I call on House leadership to pass this bill soon. It is too important to wait,” said Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-13).

“This legislation would serve as a critical building block to communities seeking to grow by providing additional banking opportunities and financial stability right in their home towns. When these opportunities exist, individuals and businesses have the tools at their disposal to build credit and thrive through commercial development and job creation. And those are critical to economic growth and prosperity. That’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be denied to any community, regardless of zip code,” said Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01).

"I represent a large, mostly rural district that has twelve Native American tribes, and many of our communities are underserved when it comes to banking options. I'm cosponsoring this legislation because I want to ensure that folks in rural and tribal areas have access to the low-cost and no-cost financial services that credit unions can provide,” said Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)

“We are grateful for Representatives Ryan’s, Norcross’ and Kirkpatrick’s leadership in seeking to remove barriers that limit consumers' access to essential financial services," said Dan Berger, President and CEO of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions. “NAFCU applauds this long-overdue move to allow credit unions to reach out to consumers who need their services the most.”

"The more consumers have access to credit unions, the greater access they have to affordable, consumer-focused financial products and services," said Gary Soukenik, CEO of Seven Seventeen Credit Union. "Congress should follow the lead of Rep. Ryan and his colleagues in empowering credit unions, whose existence is rooted in the financial well-being of the members and communities they serve."

"CUNA and the Ohio Credit Union League have been working with Rep. Ryan over the last several weeks to ensure the legislation achieves his objectives. We appreciate the support - it is further evidence that Congress is interested in consumers having more access to credit unions,” said Ryan Donovan, Chief Advocacy Officer Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

The Financial Services for the Underserved Act of 2016 would allow federal credit unions that are properly capitalized to apply to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) to add underserved areas (based on census tracts) to their fields of membership.