NWCUA Credit Union Advocates Hike the Hill


Meeting with Congressman Denny Heck (D-WA 10)

During last week’s Fall Hike the Hill, a delegation of 20 credit union advocates from across the greater Northwest region joined your NWCUA advocacy team in Washington, D.C., landing on Capitol Hill just in time to help fuel a number of exciting wins for the Credit Union Movement.

“The timing for this fall’s Hike the Hill was ideal,” said Jennifer Wagner, the Northwest Credit Union Association’s Chief Advocacy Officer. “We were able to lend our voices, in person, to achieve significant legislative victories for credit unions, particularly the vote supporting the Amodei/Aguilar Amendment to remove NCUA from the appropriations process, and the passage of several regulatory relief provisions in the final House appropriations bill. In our meetings with Members of Congress, we conveyed credit unions’ core values, and helped legislators understand how supporting credit union priorities has a direct, positive impact on their constituents.”

Following are some of the key issues your credit union advocates worked to advance on the Hill last week.

A Big Win for Credit Unions: H.R. 3354

NWCUA advocates meet with NCUA board member Rick Metsger.

On Sept. 14, the House passed H.R. 3354, the legislative vehicle for the Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill and the other seven remaining appropriations bills. This legislation’s passage is a substantial victory for the Credit Union Movement, as it not only includes the Amodei/Aguilar Amendment, which removed the language that would have placed NCUA under the appropriations process, but also contains a number of provisions important to credit unions.

The credit union regulatory relief priorities built into this legislation include bringing the CFPB under the appropriations process, reforming its UDAAP authority, and adding more checks and balances to the CFPB rulemaking process. Other relief provisions include the repeal of the CFPB Small Business Loan Data Collection program, and repeal of the CFPB’s authority to write rules for arbitration.

Regulatory Relief and H.R. 389/S. 836

Meeting with Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee

Our Fall Hike the Hill advocates engaged legislators in many regulatory reform conversations, highlighting how removing unnecessary regulatory burden would help credit unions better serve the financial needs of consumers and small businesses.

In these regulatory conversations with elected officials, the delegation sought to rally support for H.R. 389/S. 836, the Credit Union Loan Residential Parity Act. This legislation would provide parity in how credit unions treat 1-4 non-owner-occupied loans — from having to classify them as business loans to classifying them as mortgage loans like all other financial institutions.

With this reform, credit unions could use the additional member business lending cap authority to lend to more small businesses.

Treasury Conversations: CDFI Funding and Cannabis Banking

In meetings with the Treasury, the delegation discussed the important role CDFI funds play in providing financial products and services in economically distressed communities.

For members of the Oregon and Washington delegations, marijuana banking also was an important focus. Credit union advocates emphasized the importance of keeping FINCen guidance in place, even if the Cole memo is revoked, highlighting the significant role of cannabis banking in reducing crime.

Tax Reform

The delegation’s conversations served to remind elected officials of the credit union difference, and why Congress should retain the credit union tax status in any comprehensive tax reform legislation.

In addition, this fall’s Hike offered advocates the chance to thank credit union champions in office for their steadfast support.

Wagner stresses the importance of these visits in sustaining the Credit Union Movement’s success. “Through our Hike the Hill events, we get to speak to our champions in Congress about how their legislative decisions are helping credit unions maintain and expand their efforts to serve their local communities.”

Whether you’re advocating in D.C. or in your home state, your voices are vital to communicating the credit union difference to our elected officials. Find out how to get more involved in credit union advocacy by contacting Samantha Beeler, NWCUA’s AVP, Advocacy, at 503.350.2218 or sbeeler@nwcua.org.

Posted in Advocacy News.