By the Division of Banks

Credit Union Authority To Issue VISA Credit Cards To Low To Moderate Income Applicants 62 Years Of Age Or Older

State-chartered credit unions may offer loans or extend credit to their members subject to Mass. Gen. Laws chapter 171 and each credit union's by-laws. Under Mass. Gen. Laws chapter 171 § 59A, a state-chartered credit union may issue and honor credit cards for the purpose of making loans to its members with the prior written approval of the Division of Banks after submission of a written plan for the issuance of credit cards, subject to certain limitations. The credit union's board of directors must determine the terms and conditions of the credit card program including such terms as the interest rate. Other sections of Mass. Gen. Laws chapter 171 may also apply.

Under Mass. Gen. Laws chapter 151B, and the federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq., a creditor cannot discriminate on a prohibited basis in offering or extending credit. Credit unions should be aware that age is enumerated as a prohibited basis. However, there are exceptions within Massachusetts and Federal law which allow creditors to consider age as a factor in the extension of credit or to offer credit on more favorable terms to persons 62 years of age or older.