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Credit Unions in Austin as 85th Texas Legislature Begins
Wednesday, January 11, 2017 7:00 AM

CUs in Austin
Front Row: Alton Landry, Port of Houston; Valarie Brittain, CyFair FCU; Cindy Hester, Union Fidelity FCU; Nikki Moore, Space City CU; Katyanna Vaughn, SPCO CU; Brian Gilbert, Members Trust FCU. Back Row: Ray Finnegan, Smart Financial; Craig Rohden, Space City CU; Ronnie Anderson, Community Resource CU; Tim Adams, SPCO CU; Neva White of Bayer Heritage FCU; Francisco Cortez, Member Home Loan. Not pictured: Kyle Ashley, United SA FCU; Jerry Clancy, Lone Star CU; and James Tuggle, Transtar FCU.

A reception was held at the Texas Credit Union Association offices Jan. 10 for credit union leaders who were in town for the opening of the 2017 Texas Legislature. Staff and board members from credit unions in Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas were briefed on the legislative issues facing credit unions this year, in addition to having the opportunity to meet with the state and federal regulators while watching the swearing in of the new legislature.

The group heard from Tracy Bombarger, associate regional director of operations for NCUA, about changes to examination processes. NCUA is working to make the examinations more efficient and effective. The NCUA will focus on cybersecurity, interest-rate risk, commercial lending, and compliance review in 2017.

Commissioner Harold Feeney of the Texas Credit Union Department talked about the legislative process as it pertains to the TCUD. The Commissioner discussed the areas the Department will be focusing on in 2017, along with the success of the  Self-Directed, Semi-Independent (SDSI) status of the TCUD and its importance to having the resources necessary to operate the agency.

Feeney reminded the group about the legislation last session that would have moved the sunset date for the TCUD up to 2019, and attempts to move the Sunset date up to 2017 that were defeated in the House with the work of the Texas Credit Union Association and grassroots efforts by credit union people around Texas contacting their lawmakers to oppose the change.

The group watched the swearing-in ceremonies for the House and Senate from the Texas Credit Union Association office, then went to the Capitol to visit the offices of the senators and representatives from their home districts. The House unanimously elected Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) as Speaker of the House for the 2017 Texas Legislature.

The attendees were able to thank legislators who have been credit union supporters in the past, such as Rep. Jessica Farrar, who cosponsored legislation that exempted credit unions from a new regulatory burden related to POD account forms.  

By the time the Texas Credit Union Association Governmental Affairs Conference happens Feb. 15, there will be more action on bills. It will be important that credit unions attend the conference and go the Capitol to discuss the proposed legislation with their officials.

"These initial visits on Opening Day lay the groundwork for more substantive meetings necessary for legislative success," said Texas Credit Union Association President Jeff Huffman. "Our grassroots action helped secure the support of lawmakers in three contested floor votes in the last session. We appreciate our Cornerstone Credit Union League members taking the time to be in Austin to let legislators know we will be engaged throughout the session."

For more information, please contact Texas Credit Union Association President Jeff Huffman at 469-385-6488 or jhuffman@txcua.coop