Senator Warren Releases CRA Bill Reflecting Months of CUNA/League Engagement

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released an updated version of her housing legislation Wednesday, a version of the bill that reflects significant engagement between CUNA, leagues, credit unions, and Warren. Unlike the previous version, the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act of 2019 would not require credit unions to comply with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

The bill was introduced Wednesday, as credit union leaders were in Washington, D.C. for the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference and their subsequent visits on the Hill to each Congressional office.

“This bill is a shining example of 360-degree advocacy in action,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “When Senator Warren initially planned to expand CRA and place onerous and duplicative regulations on credit unions, we collaborated with league partners and the Senator to show the many ways that credit unions have been fulfilling requirements to support underserved communities for well over two decades. Recognizing the power that credit unions bring these communities, Senator Warren pivoted to instead codify into law the regulations that have been dictating our actions for many years. We look forward to working with the Senator and other likeminded lawmakers to ensure that credit unions are able to continue serving these communities for the foreseeable future.” 

Through months of engagement between credit unions, leagues, Warren, and her staff, and other Members of Congress, CUNA demonstrated that credit unions already abide by rules that ensure they provide safe and affordable housing products to members of varying socio-economic statuses without being subject to the CRA. Recent CUNA research shows that more than half of all credit union mortgages made across America went to households earning middle incomes or less.

Subjecting credit unions to CRA requirements would require them to shift resources away from increasing access to responsible financial products in order to satisfy additional compliance demands. That result would frustrate, rather than benefit, the objectives of increasing access to credit and capital in underserved communities.

Instead, the current bill adopts an approach that codifies the existing community outreach, input and oversight polices already present in NCUA regulations. Credit unions have been abiding by those polices for more than 20 years. 

CUNA wrote to Warren supporting the bill Wednesday, thanking Warren and her staff for their engagement on the bill and for "working with us to develop an approach that better serves the interests of communities."

A House companion measure was also introduced Wednesday by Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.).