NWCUA and Northwest Credit Unions Amplify Regulatory Concerns Nationally

For years Northwest credit unions have recognized the value of legislative advocacy. Success has been measured by the passage of numerous pieces of legislation that have improved the Federal and State charters. This year, the Washington Legislature unanimously passed updates to the state’s Credit Union Act, and updates to the Oregon Credit Union Act appear headed for passage.

The Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) is similarly building a regulatory advocacy army to match the strength of its legislative political advocacy. Passage of the Dodd-Frank Act was the impetus for credit unions and their trade associations to push for regulatory relief and protection of member benefits.

“The commitment to regulatory advocacy is paying off,” said NWCUA Director of Regulatory Advocacy John Trull. “Rules are being adopted that reflect changes credit unions advocated for, the examination process is improving and our credit unions are weighing in to influence state and federal regulators on important issues.”

As an example, Trull noted a high volume of comments generated by Northwest credit unions in recent efforts to delay the prohibition on financing certain credit insurance premiums.

Northwest credit unions advocates accounted for approximately 10% of all comments the CFPB received.” Trull noted, and the delay efforts were successful. A number of Northwest credit union advocates also weighed in on the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) proposal, expressing concerns over proposed changes to generally accepted accounting principles. The proposed changes have the potential to increase loan loss reserve requirements at credit unions, negatively impacting member benefits.

Trull noted regulatory advocacy efforts have ramped up in a number of other ways:

  1. Meeting participation is growing.
  2. Feedback on regulatory surveys has been much higher in the Northwest than in other parts of the country.
  3. The Association’s Regulatory Advisory Subcommittee is continuing to evolve.
  4. The Northwest is well represented on work groups and committees that have been formed by regulatory agencies.

For example, Northwest credit unions have one of the five credit union seats on the NCUA’s Bylaws Working Group. The Northwest is represented on the CFPB’s Credit Union Advisory Council, and a third of state chartered credit unions in Oregon participated in the Department of Consumer and Business Services advisory group on the proposed real property rule.

The NWCUA was one of the first trade associations in the country to dedicate a position to regulatory advocacy. Other leagues have since followed suit. Most recently the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues announced the hiring of Sharon Lindeman as Vice President of Regulatory Advocacy.

One of Lindeman’s first tasks was to manage the rollout of PowerComment, an interactive tool designed to empower credit unions to participate more effectively in the regulatory comment process. PowerComment provides users with the information they need to understand proposed rules, an interactive discussion board to discuss the proposals with their peers, and the power to write a comment letter to regulators and immediately submit it.

The Association’s Regulatory Advocacy Committee will have the opportunity to try PowerComment and provide input to the California and Nevada Leagues as part of a collaborative effort to fine tune the product.

“The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues and the Northwest Credit Union Association have a long history of collaboration,” said Diana Dykstra, president and CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. “This is just another example of leagues working together to bring the best resources to credit unions in response to their needs.”

 

The NWCUA Regulatory Advocacy team works with state and federal regulators to help reduce the regulatory burden on credit unions and protect the credit union movement. The Association encourages members to participate in the regulatory process. If you have any questions about these or any regulatory issues, please contact Director of Regulatory Advocacy John Trull at jtrull@nwcua.org, or at 503.350.2209.

Posted in Advocacy News, Compliance, Compliance News, Economy, NCUA, NWCUA.