Credit unions look to increase housing access, reduce ownership gaps

Credit unions support legislative solutions to improve access to housing and reduce gaps in homeownership rates, America’s Credit Unions President/CEO Jim Nussle wrote to the Senate Banking Committee ahead of its hearing on housing affordability.

Credit unions believe in supporting their members and their communities by creating products and services designed to suit member needs, including the underserved,” the letter reads. “Credit unions have long had a history of rent-to-own programs; first time homeowner programs; financial literacy and wealth building programs to assist millions of Americans on their path to financial well-being. Data consistently shows that credit unions are at par or exceed our for-profit counterparts in the financial services marketplace.

“That said, credit unions understand that a significant gap remains in access to housing for moderate- to low-income and minority members. Credit unions are working to close this gap,” it adds.

Analysis of lending data for the first quarter of 2023 show the median interest rate for 30-year mortgages among prime borrowers at credit unions is notably lower than that at banks and mortgage companies, and this trend holds true for urban, rural, and non-prime borrowers.

Nussle also offered support for the bipartisan Homebuyers Privacy Protection Act (S. 3502/H.R.7297) would curb the abusive use of mortgage credit “triggers leads” in all but a limited set of circumstances.

America’s Credit Unions wrote in support of those bills in separate letters to the Senate Banking and Housing Financial Services Committees Monday.

He also noted support for modernizing field of membership restrictions, which would make a major impact on credit unions’ ability to serve minority and disadvantaged populations.

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