As the U.S. economy slowly recovers from the deepest crisis since the Great Depression, low-income consumers and communities continue to be overlooked and underserved by mainstream financial institutions. According to the most recent FDIC study, 10 million consumers remain unbanked and roughly 24 million are believed to be under banked, relying on high-cost or predatory providers of transaction services and credit products.
Access to Banking: The Federation works closely with federal, state and local government to increase access to affordable banking products and services through credit unions. We also provide to support to CDCUs across the country participating in Access to Banking initiatives. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 included language promoting access to safe and affordable banking services and recommended a $50 million additional appropriation to the CDFI Fund for this purpose. The Federation is working actively with the CDFI Coalition, the CDFI Fund and Cities for Financial Empowerment to obtain an appropriation for this effort.
Curbing Predatory Practices: For decades the Federation has been a leading voice against predatory lending that drains wealth from low-income individuals and communities. As credit unions are increasingly developing products to limit the reach of payday lenders in their communities, the Federation has been a leading voice for developing and offering responsible and true alternatives to these products. The Federation’s Borrow & Save program has also worked with credit unions to design an emergency loan product that promotes savings and ensures that consumers not fall into patterns of repeat rollovers.
Financial Security Has No Age Limit: Older Adults in the United States face acute financial pressures that include inability to pay for basic needs, lack of savings and high debt. They are susceptible to financial scams and targeted by financial predators of all stripes. With the ranks of low-income seniors growing, and millions of baby boomers reaching retirement age, financial security for older adults is a major concern for credit unions and national advocacy agencies. The Federation’s Better Directions program provides resources to credit unions working to ensure the financial security of seniors across the country.