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CUNA, League, and CU Advocacy Accomplishments for 2015
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 6:45 AM

As the first session of the 114th Congress finalizes its activities this week, Credit Union National Association Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan highlighted some of his trade association’s successes over the last year, while adding that much work remains to be done going forward. Per Donovan:

  • NCUA finalized a risk-based capital rule that, while still a solution in search of a problem, was greatly improved from the first two versions, and further gives us a path forward on supplemental capital.
  • NCUA is close to finalizing a member business lending rule that will remove most regulatory barriers to credit union business lending, expanding credit unions' capacity to serve their small business members.
  • Congress enacted three regulatory relief bills that modernized privacy notification requirements, gave privately insured credit unions access to the Federal Home Loan Bank, and established a system to reduce regulatory burden for credit unions serving rural areas.
  • Small credit unions will see greater regulatory accommodations through an increase in the definition of small credit union.
  • The 5 percent fixed asset threshold was removed from regulation.
  • 20 pieces of credit union-supported legislation moved through the House Financial Services Committee, and 15 credit union provisions were included in the Senate Banking Committee's regulatory relief bill, setting us up for additional regulatory relief for next year and beyond.
  • We kept some bad things from happening this year, including preventing Congress from giving NCUA the authority to examine third-party vendors and keeping Congress from imposing new tax reporting requirements. Further, we delayed implementation of the TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure requirements by two months to give credit unions and their vendors more time to comply.
  • We secured the first Congressional oversight hearing of NCUA's budget in several years and a commitment to hold similar hearings more regularly going forward.
  • We won House Committee passage of our data security bill, marking the first time a Congressional committee has endorsed our view that merchants who accept cards for payment should be held to the same security standards as the credit unions that issue them.
  • We have once again protected the tax status at both the federal and state levels, a feat that must not be taken for granted given the budget pressures that federal and state governments face today. 

Donovan said we have made a lot of progress this year toward removing barriers for credit unions and improving the environment in which they operate. We were able to do this because we worked together: CUNA, leagues, and credit unions. He also pointed out that the job is not yet done. 2016 will be a short legislative year, but it will be a crucial one for credit union advocacy. Per Donovan:

  • Field of membership and member business lending modernization is not done; we will need to bring that across the line. 
  • We have advanced the notion that NCUA exams should be less frequent, more efficient, and fairer; we need to continue to push these points too.
  • The CFPB is going to propose new regulations on payday lending and overdraft protection next year; we have had a lot of discussions with them on these issues, but we will need to intensify our efforts. 
  • The Department of Labor will try to finalize the fiduciary rule and the overtime rule; we must keep up our efforts on these issues. 
  • The FCC's Robocall Order will continue to adversely impact credit unions; we will keep up the fight in the courts and Congress. 
  • As long as the merchants are held to lower data security standards than credit unions, the threat of major data breaches remains high; we must continue to press Congress to enact our strong data security bill. 
  • The banks will continue to go state by state to try to take away the credit union option for consumers by imposing new taxes on credit unions; we must fight them wherever that battle takes us.