August Congressional Recess is a Golden Opportunity for Credit Unions


Legislation may not be moving during the August Congressional recess, but take our word for itmost Congressional Reps and Senators don’t take a long, relaxing vacation.  

During the August recess, they keep a busy schedule meeting with constituents in their respective states and districts. That means they’d probably jump at the chance to visit your credit union, attend a community event you’re sponsoring, or at least welcome you for a visit to their local district office. In other words, this is a great time to show the credit union love, and there’s plenty of that to go around. 

Your Association has some recommendations and “talking points” to help keep the conversation lively. 

“Every credit union has a story. Tell yours,” said Samantha Beeler, NWCUA Vice President of Advocacy. “Invite a member who opened a small business with a loan from your credit union. Have teachers there to talk about how your team helps with financial education in their classrooms. Members of Congress are always inspired to meet students, so if you’re presenting scholarships this month, invite the recipients in while your representative is visiting.” 

We’d appreciate your support! 

Legislation important to credit unions is pending in the beltway. While you have your representatives’ ear, ask for their support for any or all of these priority legislative initiatives: 

Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE)

The SAFE Banking Act does not remove all the compliance burdens associated with providing financial services to legal marijuana businesses, but it does provide important protections for financial institutions that choose to do so. Even credit unions that do not directly serve the industry are facing compliance complications if employees of these businesses, or operators of ancillary businesses that serve the canna industry, have accounts at the credit union. Both the House and Senate have held hearings on this important legislation this year.   

National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

Ahead of the Fiscal Year 2020 NDAA Conference, we’re sharing our concern with the Senate and House Armed Services Committees over Section 2821 of the Senate-passed NDAAwhich would provide rent-free access to military installations for more complex, profit-centered financial institutions such as banks. They already can negotiate with Base Commanders under 10 USC 2667. We urge all conferees to reject the inclusion of Section 2821 and uphold the language in the House bill. 

Real-time Payments

American families spend millions in overdraft fees because they are waiting for checks to clear over a weekend or long holiday. We encourage the Federal Reserve to develop a real-time payments network to help us and to help those families. The Clearing House, which is bank-owned, currently operates a real-time payments network, but as credit unions, we don’t want to be solely reliant on them for such an important service. There is legislation pending that would require the Fed to establish a network. We do hope and expect the Fed to announce a decision to set up this network soon, so there’d be no need to advance legislation.  

Stop the Data Breaches

Every year millions of Americans become victims of fraud due to data breaches. We support legislation that would provide strong national data protection and consumer notification standards with effective enforcement provisions. It’s powerful when your members tell Congress about how data breaches impact them as well. Ask your team and your members to visit so they may educate Congress.  

The next opportunity to meet with your representatives in Washington, D.C., will be the Fall Hike the Hill Sept. 17-19. Registration is open online. We hope you’ll join your Northwest colleagues and your Association’s Advocacy Team.

Posted in Advocacy News.