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Letter to Rep Gutierrez offering endorsement from CUNA and WOCCU of HR 5315 the International Remittance Consumer Protection Act of 2004

Letters to Congress

Letter to Rep Gutierrez offering endorsement from CUNA and WOCCU of HR 5315, the International Remittance Consumer Protection Act of 2004

October 19, 2004

The Honorable Luis Gutierrez
2367 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative Gutierrez:

On behalf of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), representing nearly 85 million credit union members in the US and over 123 million credit union members worldwide, we would like to offer our endorsement of H.R. 5315, the International Remittance Consumer Protection Act of 2004. This legislation closely mirrors consumer disclosure practices credit unions already voluntarily offer, and seeks to expand credit unions' ability to offer remittances, money orders and check cashing services to better serve consumers.

As you know, CUNA and WOCCU offer credit unions a remittance product called IRnet (International Remittance Network), that offers safe, reliable and affordable wire transfer services to over 40 countries worldwide. More than 200 credit unions are signed up for the IRnet service, with over 650 points of service available throughout the United States. CUNA believe it will be possible for our member credit unions to implement the requirements of this legislation, and we fully support the intent of this legislation to provide greater disclosures and consumer protections, particularly in the immigrant communities. We do ask, however, that a sufficient period of time be allowed to implement these requirements upon enactment of the legislation.

CUNA and WOCCU strongly supports the provision to allow credit unions to offer remittance, money order and check cashing services to non-members within the field of membership. This will enable credit unions to reach many individuals in the underserved and immigrant communities that typically do not use formal banking institutions and are forced to use high-priced money transmitting businesses. Credit unions would then have an opportunity to educate and build trusting relationships with these individuals, encouraging them to join a financial institution so they have access to all financial benefits.

Additionally, CUNA and WOCCU support your inclusion of language to require the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to help facilitate the flow of remittances through financial institutions. WOCCU is committed to credit union strengthening in developing countries, particularly in Mexico and Latin America, to bring the rural and urban poor into the banked financial sector with access to credit union savings and microlending. It is our hope this language will encourage USAID to fund WOCCU's and other similar proposals in order to provide safe and reliable financial institutions on both the sending and receiving ends of a remittance transaction.

CUNA, WOCCU and our member credit unions strongly support your efforts to bring greater disclosures to the remittance industry, while helping credit unions provide greater access of remittance, money order and check cashing services to the underserved and immigrant communities. We look forward to working with you on this important legislation.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Daniel A. Mica
President & CEO
Arthur Arnold
President & CEO
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