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ARLINGTON, Va. – Credit unions’ future efforts to serve underserved and low-income communities would get a boost with the passage of certain pieces of federal legislation, according to Fred Becker, CEO of NAFCU. Firing yet another round in what has become an ongoing war of letters in the American Banker over credit unions’ recording dealing with low-income communities, Becker responded to previous criticism of credit unions’ efforts with low-income or underserved communities by pointing to legislative amendments offered by Reps Doug Ose (R-Calif.) and Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio) to the ongoing regulatory relief bill. Ose’s amendment would allow federally chartered credit unions to cash the checks of nonmembers. LaTourette’s amendment would allow NCUA to have greater flexibility in setting the usury ceiling. Currently, the NCUA has the authority to set the ceiling at above 15% but only for 18 months at a time. The current usury ceiling policy “could leave federal credit unions unable to lend to those who need credit the most,” Becker wrote. Ose’s amendment would spare “a number of low-income fees assessed by check cashers,” he also wrote.

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