This week the Senate is gearing up to tackle legislation that would seek to protect consumers from the bad financial practices of recent years–from hidden fees and outrageous penalties to risky loans and securities that undermine the financial system. It’s a fitting moment for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) to throw its support behind one consumer protection that isn’t in the House or Senate financial reform packages – prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in credit and lending.
CUNA, which represents 90% of the nation’s credit unions, announced its support this week for the Israel-Frank Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act (H.R.4376), a 2-page bill that would add these categories to existing federal protections based on race, sex, religion, national origin, marital status and age.
CUNA isn’t waiting for the bill to pass; it’s also making nondiscrimination against LGBT consumers part of its organizational policy. We applaud CUNA for recognizing that no one should be denied a loan because a bank officer thinks they don’t look sufficiently “masculine” or “feminine,” or because a credit card company thinks being transgender means you’re an unreliable borrower. Transgender people, like everyone else, should have access to credit and lending on fair terms, based on objective financial qualifications, not prejudice or stereotypes. We hope CUNA’s leadership will help advance this common-sense legislation.