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2014 Legislative Summit Update
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 6:55 AM

Cornerstone Credit Union League's 2014 Legislative Summit is in full swing in Austin, Texas. The meeting is held for the purpose discussing strategies for increasing the credit union movement's political influence and determining state and federal priorities.

Featured presenters include Kirk Cuevas from Dollar Associates, Sam Whitfield from CUNA, and Chris Perkins from WPA Opinion Research.

Vice President of Advocacy Jim Phelps kicked off the first day's meetings with a rundown of the recent Advocacy Survey of Cornerstone credit unions. The survey is designed to elicit feedback that will help the league ascertain which issues are most important to credit unions and how the league can best serve its members. Phelps said the survey received a response rate of 29 percent.

As an example of the survey questions, when asked why they felt it was important to be politically engaged, credit union respondents said:

  • It’s better to influence outcomes than to do nothing and complain;
  • If we don’t do it, we have no one to blame but ourselves;
  • Politics is part of operating any business in today’s regulatory environment;
  • There’s too much at risk to not be involved;
  • We must tell our story, not the banks.

Sam Whitfield, vice president of Legislative Affairs for CUNA, provided a legislative update on recent activities with Congress. He described the gridlock in Congress and difficulty getting cooperation from lawmakers. Whitfield said, "The 113th Congress enacted only 142 bills. Tools for compromise have been eliminated."

Whitfield advised credit unions to stay engaged the way they did on the highly successful "Don't Tax My Credit Union" campaign. He said the same thing could be accomplished with other credit union issues that come up with regulatory agencies and legislative bodies, and he reminded attendees, "Tax reform not over until the president signs a bill."

Whitfield also said CUNA was making some headway in the U.S. House of Representatives on regulatory relief legislation, including some CFPB reforms. Some bills are pending now in the Senate.

Throughout the day, credit union leaders discussed their most pressing concerns and priorities for the next year. Chief among them were regulatory relief; the CFPB and unintended consequences of new regulations; the impact of data security breaches and card replacement costs; the pending risk-based capital proposal; and courtesy pay, overdraft protection, and interchange.