As Prepared for Delivery on October 28, 2020
As we are now approaching our eighth month of the COVID-19 pandemic, I applaud Inclusiv for its continued commitment to financial inclusion for underserved communities during this crisis. Your efforts make a powerful statement about this industry’s safety, soundness, and commitment to service.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a concerning aspect of American life; even in an age of relative plenty and prosperity, inequalities continue to plague our nation. Consider the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on communities of color.
That stems, in part, from economic opportunity, an area where leaders in the financial services industry can have a powerful impact by making a genuine commitment to a financial inclusion agenda.
Here at the NCUA, we have launched a financial inclusion initiative called ACCESS: Advancing Communities through Credit, Education, Stability & Support.
This initiative will bring together leaders across the NCUA to develop policies and programs in support of financial inclusion within the agency and the credit union system.
ACCESS will build on the earlier successes, including our Second Chance Initiative, PALS II Rule, and MDI Preservation Program, to expand and address the financial services, financial literacy and employment needs of underserved and diverse communities.
At the NCUA, we’re always looking for ways to foster greater financial inclusion, accessibility, and opportunity for all Americans. That’s why we’re updating and expanding our approach when considering military personnel in determining whether a credit union qualifies for the low-income designation.
That means not only expanding access for our men and women in uniform, but also offering benefits for credit unions that carry a low-income designation including an exemption from the statutory cap on member business lending, eligibility for grants and loans from the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund, the ability to accept deposits from non-members, and the authorization to obtain supplemental capital.
I’m pleased with the credit union industry’s leadership on this front and look forward to working with you in this effort. It is truly in best efforts of the “people helping people.”
*Remarks edited for clarity.