Lobby Group Raises Specter Of CRA ForCUs

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WASHINGTON - (05/19/05) -- In a new study sure to initiate newdebate over a Community Reinvestment Act for credit unions, theNational Community Reinvestment Coalition will issue a reportThursday morning asserting that credit unions lag behind banks andthrifts in serving minorities, women and low-income communities andindividuals. The three-year study compares various databasesnationwide and concludes that banks do a better job of lending tounderserved communities. Release of the study, coming ascongressional debate commences on regulatory relief for creditunions, is sure to fuel a renewed debate over whether credit unionsshould be subjected to CRA, the law that requires banks and thriftsto make loans and provide other services to neglected communities.The NCRC study concludes that CRA requirements for credit unions inMassachusetts have forced state chartered credit unions in the BayState to improve their lending in underserved areas. The study is acompilation of Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data; recent reportsissued by the General Accountability Office and the non-profitWoodstock Institute; a study of Massachusetts' CRA, and other data.The NCRC has been active in pushing for a CRA for credit unions andunsuccessfully sued NCUA three years ago when the agency rescindedits CRA-like community action plan rule.

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