Voices Grow Louder To Add CRA ForCUs

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WASHINGTON - (06/23/05) -- Another advocacy for low-income andminority lending has added its voice to those urging Congress toapply the Community Reinvestment Act to credit unions. In a lettersent to Rep. Michael Oxley, R-Ohio, chairman of the House FinancialServices Committee, and the 69 other members of the panel, theGreenlining Institute said it will oppose the CU RegulatoryImprovements Act unless Congress requires credit unions over $1billion to comply with CRA in exchange for broader business lendingauthority. Robert Gnizda, general counsel for the Berkley,Calif.-based group, insisted they are not working in concert withthe banks, which have been lobbying for CRA for credit unions foryears. "The banks reasons are not our reasons," Gnizda, told TheCredit Union Journal. "The banks are interested in decreasingcompetition. We're interested in increasing competition (forserving inner cities and low-income communities." In its letter,The Greenlining Institute urged Congress to compare the communityservice and investment of 20 of the largest credit unions with 20comparably-sized banks subject to CRA, before passing CURIA. TheInstitute's initiative comes a month after the National CommunityReinvestment Coalition issued a report highly critical of creditunions' service to the underserved and calling on Congress to passCRA for credit unions, and two weeks after Rep. Barney Frank, theranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, told his homestate Massachusetts Bankers Association he would be amenable to CRAfor credit unions.

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