NWCUA Federal Legislative Week in Review

The Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) has been busy taking advantage of Congress’ recent district work periods and a new schedule that gives the House Members more time at home.

Our efforts started by reaching out and introducing the Association and offering ourselves up as a resource to every office on issues relating to credit unions, small businesses and the financial industry in general. We requested meetings with every member of the Oregon and Washington delegation to talk with them specifically about the Federal Reserve’s recent proposed rule on interchange and ask for their help on our efforts to “Stop. Study. Start Over.” on this issue.

We have also used these meetings to touch base on other priority issues including protecting credit unions’ tax status, picking up where we left off on efforts to increase the credit union member business lending cap to 27.5 percent and introducing the idea of modifying the definition of credit union net worth to include supplemental forms of capital.

To date, NWCUA staff and credit union advocates have met with every Oregon congressional office including in-person meetings with Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Congressman Schrader (D-OR). Both reiterated their support for the carve-out for credit unions and community banks on the interchange rate provision and as opportunities arise in Congress for them to play a role in supporting the carve-out and two tiered system, we plan to work closely with these offices.

In addition to stating support on interchange, Congressman Schrader, as presumed Ranking Member on the Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access, offered to request and push for hearings on relevant credit union issues in that committee. Senator Merkley expressed interest on the issue of supplemental capital and invited us to work with his staff as legislative proposals are developed and rolled out.

In Washington, we have met with three congressional offices and have meetings this week with the State Directors of both Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell’s offices. We had a great in-person meeting with Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA) and on the issue of interchange, received a commitment by the Congressman to call the Financial Services Committee leadership in support of the tentative February 17th hearing on the Fed’s interchange proposal.

We will persist with our efforts to develop strong relationships with all offices at the district level as well as in Washington, D.C. Thank you to the credit union leaders who have helped with these meetings. We will continue to invite you to join us and help paint the valuable picture of how these issues look in your credit unions, where the rubber meets the road.

Below is the most recent Legislative Update from CUNA’s Team on the Hill, with important information about this week’s hearing in the Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit on the Federal Reserve’s interchange fee proposed rule.

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It is going to be a busy week in Washington, with both the Senate and the House in session at the same time for the whole week. Driving the week will be the release of the President’s budget later today. While they are not noted below, several committee hearings on various aspects of the President’s budget are expected.

The House comes back today and will consider H.R. 514, a bill to extend provisions of the PATRIOT Act. Tomorrow and the balance of the week, the House will consider H.R. 1, a full-year continuing appropriations bill. No votes are expected in the House on Friday.

The Senate also comes back today. They will consider two nominations this afternoon before resuming consideration of the FAA Authorization Act. The Senate is expected to invoke cloture on this legislation this week.

Next week is a constituent work period for both chambers.

We are following a number of hearings on both chambers this week.

On Tuesday, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a full committee hearing on “Assessing the Regulatory, Economic and Market Implications of the Dodd-Frank Derivatives Title.” Also on Tuesday, the House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation will hold a hearing on “An Analysis of the Post-Conservatorship Legal Expenses of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a full committee hearing on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) report. FCIC Chairman Phil Angelides; FCIC Vice Chairman Bill Thomas; and FCIC Commissioners Brooksley Born, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Heather Murren and Peter Wallison testify. Also on Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on Insurance and Housing Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Are There Government Barriers to the Housing Market Recovery?” It is also worth noting that

the House Small Business Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday on “Putting Americans Back to Work: The State of the Small Business Economy.”

The big day for credit unions is Thursday when the House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit will hold a hearing on “Understanding the Federal Reserve’s Proposed Rule on Interchange Fees: Implications and Consequences of the Durbin Amendment.” Frank Michael, President and Chief Executive Officer of Allied Credit Union in Stockton, California, will testify on behalf of CUNA. Other witnesses include: Sarah Raskin, member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors; Gus Prentzas of Pavilion Florals; David Kemper, chairman, president and CEO of Commerce Bank; Doug Kantor, partner at Steptoe & Johnson; Josh Floum, general counsel for Visa; and David Seltzer, vice president and treasurer of 7-Eleven.

Also on Thursday, the Senate Banking Committee will hold a full committee hearing on “Oversight of Dodd-Frank Implementation: A Progress Report by the Regulators at the Half-Year Mark.” Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke; Sheila Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Mary Schapiro, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission; Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; and John Walsh, acting comptroller of the currency, Treasury Department, are expected to testify.

As a reminder, GAC briefing material is available on the CUNA Legislative Affairs website. Prior to GAC, we will transmit a legislative update which will describe the status of each of the legislative issues and any new or additional information. If necessary, we may update briefing material on the website. During GAC, all material distributed to GAC participants—and any new or updated information—will be available at the Government Affairs booth on the L Street Bridge. We will communicate the availability of new or updated information via email.

Posted in Advocacy News, Compliance, Federal, NWCUA.