Federal Legislative Week in Review

We need your help on interchange again. Also, a full report on CEO John Annaloro and President Troy Stang’s meetings with the Fed, NCUA and the NW delegation.

 

Hill Visits
Last week, CEO John Annaloro and President Troy Stang were in Washington, DC, to re-engage our federal delegations on credit union issues after their two-week recess. They joined a group of credit unions to discuss interchange, our top legislative priority, while also laying the educational ground work on the issue of supplemental capital for credit unions.

The group met with eight offices of the Northwest credit union delegation, including both Washington senators, as well as staff from the office of Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) who sits on the Senate Banking Committee. Overall, the meetings were very positive and further developed some of our strong relationships, while opening the door for building relationships with a couple of the new staff.

The group also met with NCUA Board Member Gigi Hyland, Deputy Executive Director Larry Fazio, General Counsel Bob Fenner, and other NCUA staff regarding supplemental capital to inform them of the Association’s next steps on this issue. The staff presented their concerns and we will continue to work with them.

Finally, the group met with staff at the U.S. Treasury Department. As there is not currently someone in the policy leadership position, they deferred taking a stance or giving us a position on the issue of supplemental capital but, again, it was an important educational opportunity.

Interchange
We need your help once again on Interchange. Please send a second letter to your Senators and Representative. Efforts continue in Washington, DC, to work closely with our champions in the Senate to identify the appropriate time and vehicle for a vote on the Tester interchange amendment.

With the scheduled implementation deadline of the Durbin interchange amendment just about two months away, we need your help once again. We need you to write ANOTHER letter to your Senators and Representative. Recently, a Northwest delegation Hill staffer was quoted as saying “I have never received more emails on a single issue than I’ve received from banking and retail industry reps on the interchange issue.” On one hand, we can feel proud that we are being heard. On the other hand, it is apparent that the retail industry is being just as active, if not MORE! If legislation is not passed by Congress, the Durbin interchange amendment will go into effect on July 21! Just yesterday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reiterated that he is not sure that the small institution exemption in pending interchange fee cap regulations would work as planned, adding that there “is good reason to be concerned” about its effectiveness.

To date, Oregon and Washington have produced 5,960 contacts to Congress on this issue. Here are the results from some other states, to put our activity in perspective:

Arizona

9,245

California

75,199

Colorado

5,520

Georgia

3,718

Idaho

11,789

Indiana

21,876

Ohio

37,253

Pennsylvania

18,954

Oregon

2,076

Washington

3,884

We can do better. Let’s double our numbers! Please, if you have already sent a letter to your Representative and Senators, send another one! Begin your letter by stating that you are writing a second time because of the urgency around this issue and the need for Congress to act! If you haven’t sent a letter yet, it’s not too late, please do so today! Our Senate champions on this bill are working hard to attach it as an amendment to legislation scheduled up in the next couple of weeks. No doubt the retailers are asking our Senators to oppose that effort and to oppose the bill. They need to continue to hear from credit union members.

Thank you to the top 10 responders in both states. See below for the credit unions with the most contacts to our U.S. Senators!

Oregon

Washington

OSU FCU

262

NorthCoast CU

412

OnPoint CCU

116

Numerica CU

350

Unitus CCU

116

Fibre FCU

244

Mid Oregon FCU

104

iQ CU

222

SOFCU CCU

104

STCU

190

Oregon CCU

72

BECU

136

Northwest CCU

54

Whatcom Ed.

 94

PacificCrest FCU

54

Alaska USA

74

Oregonians CU

52

TwinStar CU

74

Pacific NW FCU

50

Verity CU

54

Action Requested

  1. Use the CapWiz website to compose a quick email to your Members of Congress by going to the Grassroots Action Center.
  2. Ask your staff, your Board and your members to send an ANOTHER email (webstickers are available to post on your credit union’s website).

 

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