CHICAGO (Aug. 20, 2019) – Defense credit unions are well-positioned to lead the way on improving access to affordable financial services in underserved communities, National Credit Union Administration Board Chairman Rodney E. Hood said today.
“There are a lot of innovations that defense credit unions have pioneered to better serve members in far-flung postings around the world,” Chairman Hood said. “Those innovations might help us to get a better sense of how to target services to rural communities or other hard-to-reach places. I think the industry as a whole can learn a great deal from defense credit unions that have effectively met the challenges of diverse and highly mobile populations and those that have had limited interaction with traditional financial service providers.”
Chairman Hood spoke before the Defense Credit Union Council’s Annual Meeting in Chicago. During his remarks, he also discussed the importance of financial inclusion calling it the “defining civil rights issue of our time.”
Hood noted there are dividing lines that separate too many Americans from access to safe and affordable financial services, including age, disability, and where a person lives. This is especially true in rural communities, where the withdrawal of financial institutions from rural communities over the last decade poses a serious threat to financial access for the people who still live there.
“When communities lose financial access, it is almost like cutting off the oxygen supply that is needed to fuel the local economy,” Hood said. “We also know that the lack of access to affordable banking and lending services holds working families back from climbing the financial ladder. I’m committed to doing everything we can to recognize and incentivize what’s best in the credit union mission, so that we can remove the obstacles to financial access that all rural and underserved communities are facing.”