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LATHAM, N.Y. – The New York State Credit Union League is keeping its fingers crossed that a bill introduced last week that would make it easier for credit unions in the state to provide services to the unbanked and underserved will be voted out of the state Assembly Banks Committee and eventually become law. A.10684, introduced by Assembly Jose Peralta (D-Metropolitan), would allow credit unions to provide important services to more New Yorkers by opening fields of membership to groups of individuals who would not otherwise qualify for CU membership. It increases the aggregate and individual member business loan cap, allowing CUs to serve more of the needs of small businesses, and includes an amendment that allows CUs to take in capital from nonmembers, thus creating a stronger capital base for CUs and making it possible for them to provide additional products and services to members and the communities they serve. NYSCUL Vice President of Government Affairs Amy Kramer said she was very excited to see the bill introduced and is confident if it is passed “it will give us one of the most progressive state credit union charters in the country.” The bill’s passage will be even more notable, she said, because of its interesting history. In the beginning of the year, the assemblyman co-sponsored a bill – A.9827 introduced by Assemblyman Peter Rivera (D-Metropolitan) that would have imposed CRA requirements on New York credit unions. That bill, said Kramer, was based on a study done by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition that showed CUs are denying home loans to blacks and Hispanics at a higher rate than banks are. The NYCUL immediately got busy educating lawmakers about why the study’s findings were inaccurate, and began working with Peralta explaining why CRA requirements were not only not good for credit unions, but that there was a better way for credit unions to serve low-income communities. “We told him if he really wanted to do things for low-income communities, there were other things he could do,” she said. To demonstrate their point, the league showed Peralta copies of the CUNA Model Credit Union Act and shared with him some bill language and suggestions of things he could adopt as alternative legislation. “We wanted to take his desire to see credit unions do more for New Yorkers and turn it into something positive,” said Kramer “We’re very happy he saw imposing CRA requirements on credit unions was not the way to do that and there was a better way to bring financial services to more members. Assemblyman Peralta’s bill is a statement of his willingness to work with credit unions.” A.10684 is currently in the state Assembly Banks Committee, and Kramer said the league is watching it closely “to see where it goes from here.” The league is also asking credit unions to write letters to their legislators encouraging them to support the measure. -

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