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WASHINGTON – CUNA and the California Credit Union League praised Congressman Joe Baca (D-Calif.) for introducing legislation to allow federal credit unions to offer check cashing, money order and remittance services to anyone. “Removing field of membership restrictions on these important services will allow credit unions to reach many individuals in the underserved and immigrant communities that typically do not use formal banking institutions and are forced to use high-priced money transmitting businesses,” CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica wrote in a May 10 letter to Baca. “Credit unions would then have an opportunity to educate and build trusting relationships with these individuals, encouraging them to join a financial institution so they have access to all benefits, including loans to help build small businesses and create jobs.” Mica noted CUNA and the World Council of Credit Unions efforts in the International Remittance Network (IRnet) to offer safe and affordable wire services to over 40 countries. “There’s a growing population of people in America, particularly immigrants, who have no relationship with a mainstream financial institution of any kind, and who rely instead on expensive check cashing outlets, wire transfer companies, and other alternative providers for these services,” CCUL Executive Vice President Matthew Davidson said. “We applaud Congressman Baca for recognizing that credit unions can provide these services at a lower cost, and can work at the same time to make the consumers who use these services account-holders at insured and regulated financial institutions.” Arrowhead Credit Union President and CEO Larry Sharp said, “We want to thank our long-time credit union supporter Congressman Baca for introducing this important legislation that would enable credit unions to provide these truly needed financial services to people without traditional banking relationships who live and work within our communities.” The CCUL noted that the IRnet only charges $10 to transfer $1,000 to Mexico and does not charge recipients fees for accepting transfers. Exchange rates are consistently better than the competition, according to the CCUL. The U.S. has more than 12 million Latin American immigrants wiring money home each year totaling $32 billion. [email protected]

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