NWCUA, Sen. Crapo, Community Banks Hold News Conference in Support of S.2155


In a unified show of support for legislation that will right size regulation for local credit unions and community banks, the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA), the Idaho Bankers Association (IBA), and Sen. Mike Crapo (R -ID) held a joint news conference in Boise on Feb. 20.

Despite ongoing gridlock on other issues in the beltway, S.2155, The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, passed with bipartisan support out of the Senate Banking Committee, which Sen. Crapo chairs. The commonsense bill now has 26 Senate co-sponsors — 13 Democrats and 13 Republicans.

“Unfortunately, community banks and credit unions across the country have long struggled to keep up with ever-increasing regulatory compliance and examiner demands coming out of Washington,” Sen. Crapo told reporters and a delegation of financial industry leaders who attended the event at the State Capitol. “In local economies, this places a strain on small businesses looking to open or grow.”

“We recognize that Congress’ initial intent when they passed the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 was to place well-intended restrictions curbing the practices of Wall Street’s “bad actors,” who contributed so heavily to the economic downturn leading into the recession,” said NWCUA President and CEO Troy Stang. “But, it was always recognized during the time leading up to the recession that credit unions and community institutions did not engage in the same practices as those Wall Street actors.”

Brad Swartzentruber, President and CEO of Nampa, ID-based Northwest Christian Credit Union, shared an example of what regulatory overreach looks like in local financial institutions.

The $55.8 million asset-sized Northwest Christian has made church loans for more than 20 years. Despite having no losses, foreclosures, or credit risks during or since the recession, Swartzentruber said, “today’s post-recession regulatory structure paints our credit union with the same brush as the regulations that are needed to oversee large, Wall Street financial institutions.” He believes if S.2155 passes, it will set a better tone and tenor for regulation of both federally-chartered and state-chartered credit unions such as Northwest Christian.

Stang and Swartzentruber praised Sen. Crapo for his leadership in garnering bipartisan support of the bill, which is making its way through the Senate.

Stang is particularly encouraged that S. 2155 contains the “1-4” legislation that Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) championed. It will classify loans on non-owner-occupied buildings with one to four units as real estate loans instead of as MBLs, freeing up more capital for credit unions to loan to small businesses.

“The passage of this legislation,” said Sen. Crapo, “holds real promise for local economies across America.”

IBA President and CEO Trent Wright, and John Evans III, Executive Vice President of D.L. Evans Bank, also spoke in support of the legislation.

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Posted in Advocacy News.