CUNA Advocacy Update

The Field of Membership comment period is over, but NCUA is still counting letters… ABA and its state associations are at it again on FOM and tax… CFPB continues to misinterpret exemption authority… Congress is out but the state legislatures are hard at work… and the GAC is less than a week away! 

All of this and more in this week’s CUNA Advocacy Update… 

GAC Less Than a Week Away:

t’s funny how this works. A week from now, we’ll be about half way through the GAC. We’re excited to have you in Washington next week to help take the credit union message to policymakers. The conference agenda is packed solid with quality breakout sessions, keynote speakers and special guests from Congress, NCUA and the CFPB.

For many, the highlight of the week are the visits with policymakers. We have assembled a number of briefing documents to help you prepare for these visits. I want to encourage you, however, to bring local examples of how the action or inaction from Washington affects your members. These stories will help drive home our message, particularly with Members of Congress. So, if your credit union has stopped offering a service because of a CFPB regulation, or if you’re doing less of something because of a threshold, be ready to tell that story. We’re looking forward to seeing you next week! 

CFPB Accepting Applications for the Credit Union Advisory Council:

At CUNA’s urging, the CFPB created the Credit Union Advisory Council (CUAC) shortly after it was established. The CUAC is comprised of credit union executives and volunteers who provide feedback to the Bureau on its rulemakings and help the Bureau identify emerging trends in the industry. Later this year, eight seats on the CUAC will become available. We strongly urge CUNA members to apply. The deadline for applications is February 29, so it is coming up quickly. For more information, please check out this Removing Barriers blog post or contact Leah Dempsey, Senior Director of Advocacy and Counsel.

Field of Membership Comments Set a Record:

NCUA estimates that more than 10,500 comment letters were submitted regarding the Field of Membership proposal. Considering that the vast majority of those went through either the PowerComment or Voter Voice portal, we have a lot of confidence that these comments reflect strong support for the agency’s proposal and the principle of expanded access to credit unions. I want to thank everyone who took time to write the agency and encouraged others to do so as well. It was very important to have a strong showing on this proposal because… 

… The Bankers are Back at It:

Like Old Faithful, you can count on the banking trade groups to erupt at the mere whisper of a regulatory or legislative change benefiting credit unions and credit union members. Once again, they’ve renewed their protest to the existence of credit unions on Capitol Hill, sending a letter to the tax writing committees that attempts to link NCUA’s field of membership proposal with the credit union tax status. We know, of course, the two are unrelated. Field of membership was originally a creditworthiness tool. The tax status, on the other hand, has been conveyed by Congress because of the structure and mission of credit unionsour structure as not-for-profit financial cooperatives and our mission to promote thrift and provide access to credit for provident purposes. We sent a letter last week to the recipients of the ABA letter calling the bankers out for their willful ignorance, and setting the record straight. 

CFPB Continues to Misinterpret Exemption Authority:

During a CFPB and NCUA joint agency webinar, Bureau Director Richard Cordray was asked whether the CFPB would exempt credit unions from CFPB rulemakings. Cordray responded that he was not able to allow such an exemption because the U.S. Congress was not willing to allow it. CUNA President/CEO immediately responded with a letter expressing deep concerns about this misinterpretation of Congress’ authority. Nussle said the director’s interpretation is contradicted not only with a plain reading of the statute but a number of legal opinions from industry experts. The letter provided specific language in Section 1022 of the Dodd-Frank Act contradicting Cordray’s statement.

Pending Regulatory Comment Calls:

CUNA intends to comment on the following pending regulatory proposals. For our comment letter to have the greatest impact, we need to hear from you. Please consider whether and how these proposals would affect your credit union, and contact the CUNA staff listed with each proposal with your feedback 

We encourage Leagues and credit unions to use PowerComment to file comment letters with regulators. For more information regarding these proposals, please follow the links below:

HMDA Resubmission Guidelines

March 14, 2016 CFPB Andy Price

Enterprise Duty to Serve Underserved Markets

March 17, 2016 FHFA Andy Price
EGRPA Review March 22, 2016 NCUA Andy Price

NCUA Draft 2017 – 2021 Strategic Plan

March 28, 2016 NCUA Lance Noggle
BSA CTR Revised Layout & Additional Data Fields April 4, 2016 FinCEN Luke Martone
Overhead Transfer Rate Methodology April 26, 2016 NCUA Andy Price
Operating Fee Methodology April 26, 2016 NCUA Andy Price

Legislative Update:

Congress is out of session for Presidents’ Day, but many state legislatures remain in session this week. Later this week, the New Mexico legislature is expected to be the first to adjourn for the 2016 session. So far this session, over 44,000 bills have been introduced and we are monitoring over 2,200 bills for credit union impact. 

Over on the Removing Barriers Blog…

CUNA comments on NIST Cybersecurity Framework and the FTC’s Holder Rule Review… We urge the CFPB to act on provisions enacted as part of the FAST Act…

And finally…

If you have questions, concerns or feedback regarding these or any other advocacy issues, please do not hesitate to contact me. Have a great week!

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