Warren Removes CRA Mandate for CUs as Part of Housing Bill; CCUA Voices Approval

Senator Elizabeth Warren


Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released an updated version of her housing legislation Wednesday. Unlike the previous version, the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act of 2019 would not require credit unions to comply with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

The bill was introduced Wednesday, as more than 5,200 hundred credit union leaders are in Washington, D.C. for the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference and their subsequent visits on the Hill to each Congressional office. Through months of engagement with the Association, Senator Warren kept an open door listening to concerns and revising the language to ensure that the good work of credit unions is supported. CUNA and other leagues worked in partnership with the Association to achieve a positive credit union outcome.

“Massachusetts credit unions applaud the efforts of Senator Elizabeth Warren to extend credit union service to those in need by introducing legislation which seeks to permit them to add underserved areas to their field of membership” said CCUA Interim President/CEO Bernie Winne. “Outreach by a credit union to bring an underserved area into its field of membership underscores the important not-for-profit, member-owned, cooperative nature of credit unions while promoting economic empowerment. As part of the fabric of our local communities, the mission of credit unions serving unbanked and underbanked consumers helps both residents and their neighborhoods thrive and prosper.”

Warren’s legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Ed Markey, D-Mass., and 15 House Democrats.

CUNA’s President/CEO Jim Nussle sent a letter of support from the trade group, noting the importance of access to the housing market for members of all communities. Citing recent CUNA research, Nussle added that more than half of all credit union mortgages made across the United States went to households earning middle incomes or less. Nussle stressed that credit unions prioritize people over profits and are committed to meeting the needs of each of their members that banks are unable to address.

"The cost of housing is squeezing American families in communities all across the country — rural, suburban, urban — whether they're struggling to pay rent or trying to buy a home,” Warren said. “The legacy of government discrimination and negligence means that communities of color have been hit the hardest. It's time to stop nibbling around the edges and, instead, pass this big, bold proposal to solve our housing crisis and take the first steps to address the legacy of housing discrimination head on."

The revised bill would still extend CRA to cover "more non-bank mortgage companies.”  It would also invest billions of dollars into affordable housing trust funds. Those include $445 billion into the Housing Trust Fund and $25 billion in the Capital Magnet Fund.

Additionally, the bill would prohibit housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status and source of income, among other things.

A House companion measure was also introduced Wednesday by Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.)