Federal Legislative Update of the Week

Congress Back in Session. Congress is back after a two-week district work period. Thank you to everyone who made an effort to visit with their legislators—at a town hall, community appearance or campaign event. Thank you to Rivermark Community Credit Union for hosting Congressman David Wu (D-OR) and those who attended the roundtable discussion; and thank you to iQ Credit Union for hosting a lunch with Congresswoman Jaime Herrera-Beutler (R-WA) and those who participated.

With Congress returning, the Association will once again ramp up efforts on interchange as the July 21 implementation deadline draws nearer. In talking with members of our delegations over congressional recess, staff countered the retailers’ lobbying arguments, which hinge on small business owner concerns about high interchange fees. Legislators were very interested to learn that retailers take on zero percent of the risk on debit transactions, but have no desire to share in the fraud risks that interchange fees help cover.

The other message we heard is that while Congress is hearing strong arguments from both the retailers and the financial industry, they want to hear more from consumers and how this will affect them. If you are receiving questions from your members, please encourage them to learn more about this issue and contact their federal legislators. If you are interested in resources to share with your members, or examples of what other credit unions have done, please contact the Legislative Affairs team.

It is not too late to send emails to our delegation, or add something to your website encouraging your members to email their legislators. Please continue to push the Call to Action!

As of May 2, NWCUA produced 1,724 contacts to our senators and 943 to our representatives. Here are the credit unions leading our efforts in each state. The numbers reflect how many emails were sent to each senator:

Washington

 

 

Oregon

 

North Coast CU

201

 

OSU FCU

104

Numerica CU

160

 

OnPoint CCU

58

Fibre FCU

111

 

Unitus CCU

56

iQ CU

109

 

SOFCU CCU

52

Spokane Teach. CU

76

 

Mid Oregon FCU

46

BECU

65

Oregon CCU

33

Whatcom Ed. CU

46

 

Pacific Crest FCU

28

Alaska USA FCU

33

 

Oregonians FCU

26

TwinStar CU

27

 

Northwest CCU

24

Verity CU

22

 

Pacific NW FCU

24

Our Community CU

21

 

Maps CU

22

Great NW FCU

19

 

Valley CU

21

Yakima Valley CU

18

 

Rivermark CCU

19

Woodstone CU

16

 

Rogue FCU

19

Global CU

16

 

NW Priority CU

18

Hearings on the Hill. There are a handful of committee hearings of interest scheduled in the House and Senate this week.

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Is the Distribution of Tax Burdens and Tax Benefit Equitable?” Also on Tuesday, the Senate Banking Committee will hold confirmation hearings for several Treasury Department nominees. On the House side, the Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises will hold a mark-up of several pending bills.

On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit will hold a markup on H.R. 1121, the Responsible Consumer Financial Protection Act; H.R. 1315, the Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act; and legislation related to the date for transfer of functions to the CFPB if the Bureau does not have a director in place. H.R. 1121 would replace the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with a five-person commission.

H.R. 1315 would make two changes with respect to the ability of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to stay or set aside rules finalized by the CFPB. First, the legislation would reduce the threshold for the Council to take action from a two-thirds vote of the Council to a majority vote of the Council, excluding the Director of the Bureau. Second, the legislation would modify the conditions under which the Council can take this action by striking the requirement that the regulation or provision subject to petition by a Council member “would put the safety and soundness of the United States banking system or the stability of the financial system of the United States at risk” and replacing it with a requirement that the regulation subject to petition be “inconsistent with the safe and sound operation of United States financial institutions.”

These bills are expected to pass the Subcommittee and could be marked up in full committee in the near future. However, even if they make their way through the House of Representatives, there seems to be very little appetite in the Senate to consider these types of changes to Dodd-Frank Act.

 

Questions about the interchange issue? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team:
Jennifer Wagner, Director of Legislative Advocacy
Mark Minickiello, Vice President, Legislative Affairs
Stacy Augustine, Senior Vice President & General Counsel

 

 

Posted in Advocacy News, Business Solutions, Federal, Industry Insight.