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CUNA Tallies Advocacy Victories for CU Movement in 2015
Tuesday, December 29, 2015 6:50 AM

Strong advocacy efforts from CUNA, the state leagues, and the credit union movement have led to a number of victories this year, on both the legislative and regulatory fronts.

In Congress, credit unions saw regulatory relief provisions in the federal government and highway funding bills. The government funding bill includes a study of requirements involving mortgage servicing assets and cybersecurity information sharing among the government and private industry.

The highway funding package contains three regulatory relief provisions that modernize privacy notice requirements, give privately insured credit unions access to the Federal Home Loan Bank, and establish a system to reduce regulatory burden for credit unions serving rural areas.

CUNA also helped:

  • Move 20 pieces of credit union-supported legislation through the House Financial Services Committee and gain 15 credit union provisions to be included in the Senate Banking Committee's regulatory relief bill, setting credit unions up for additional regulatory relief for next year and beyond;
  • Secure the first congressional oversight hearing of the National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA) budget in several years, and a commitment to hold similar hearings more regularly going forward; and
  • Win House committee passage of the Data Security Act of 2015, marking the first time a congressional committee has endorsed CUNA’s view that merchants that accept cards for payment should be held to the same security standards as the credit unions that issue them.

CUNA’s efforts also helped prevent a number of items that would have intensified regulatory burden on credit unions. NCUA authority over third-party vendors, new tax reporting requirements from Congress and any changes to credit unions’ tax status were prevented.

On the regulatory front, CUNA saw victories that included:

  • Finalization of the NCUA’s risk-based capital rule. While CUNA believes it is still a solution in search of a problem, the final version is greatly improved from the first two versions, and further gives a path forward on supplemental capital;
  • Greater regulatory accommodations for small credit unions through an increase in the definition of small credit union;
  • Removal of the 5 percent fixed-asset threshold; and
  • The near-finalization by the NCUA of 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.

Looking ahead to next year, CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan said CUNA will work to:

  • Ensure the NCUA’s field-of-membership and member business lending modernization proposals cross the finish line;
  • Push the NCUA that exams should be less frequent, more efficient and fairer;
  • Intensify advocacy efforts when the CFPB proposes new regulations on payday lending and overdraft protection;
  • Maintain efforts to share the credit union viewpoint with the Department of Labor as it tries to finalize its fiduciary rule and overtime rule;
  • Push back against the Federal Communications Commission’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act order in the courts and Congress;
  • Continue urging Congress to enact the Data Security Act of 2015, and emphasize that as long as merchants are held to lower data security standards than credit unions, the threat of major data breaches remains high; and

Continue to counter state-by-state bank attacks on the credit union tax status.