Fall Hike the Hill Proves Timely for Credit Union Priorities

Northwest advocates were on the Hill as the SAFE Banking Act moved closer to a House vote.

9/24/2019

Fall HTH Picture

Advocates from Northwest Credit Unions met with NCUA Chair Rodney Hood to discuss key regulatory issues such as subordinated debt, cybersecurity, and the rollout of the MERIT examination process.

Advocates from Northwest credit unions joined the Northwest Credit Union Association’s (NWCUA) advocacy team in Washington, D.C., for Fall Hike the Hill last week. The delegation met in person with 17 members of Congress and with National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chair Rodney Hood.

Their visit proved timely as the House moves closer to scheduling a vote – possibly as early as Sept. 25 – on the SAFE Banking Act, which will remove barriers for credit unions providing financial services to legal marijuana businesses. The legislation has bipartisan support and momentum following positive hearings in House and Senate committees earlier this year.

Another critical issue the advocates were able to message, was why members of Congress should reject Section 2821 of the Senate National Defense Authorization Bill. That section of the NDAA bill would give for-profit banks rent-free access to establish branches on military bases – some of the same big banks that have paid record fines for engaging in practices that were not consumer friendly. Your Northwest advocates made a strong case during their in-person meetings against Section 2821. The Northwest Credit Union Movement is being called to action to message their elected representatives to oppose Section 2821, through this link.

“There is no question Section 2821 of the NDAA legislation would jeopardize the financial health of military members,” said Samantha Beeler, NWCUA’s Vice President, Advocacy. “We strongly encourage all of our Northwest advocates to contact their representatives this week and ask them to oppose this section.”

Beeler complimented the leadership of House Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith (D-WA-9) for his support of a better bill that passed in the House.

The Northwest advocates’ meeting with NCUA Chair Hood were positive as they discussed the delay of the Risk-Based Capital rule, cybersecurity, and accounting for subordinated debt. Chair Hood shared information about the pending rollout of the agency’s Modern Examination and Risk Identification Tool (MERIT). The program is in the pilot stage currently and is designed to implement secure solutions for credit unions to exchange data files with examiners, retrieve examination reports, and respond to examination findings.

Participating in the Fall Hike the Hill was both important and successful for Christopher Bradberry, President and CEO of Longview, Washington-based Fibre Federal Credit Union and TLC Credit Union, a division of Fibre Federal based in Seaside, Oregon.

“At Fibre Federal and at TLC, we maintain positive relationships with our state and federal legislators, and we stay in contact to message credit union priorities,” Bradberry said. “The opportunity to also meet face-to-face with our leaders on the Hill allows us to talk about timely issues that ultimately will help us to better serve our members on Main Street back in Washington and Oregon.”

The Next Big Things

The next six months provide critically important opportunities for credit union advocates. They include:

  • MAXX Convention, where advocacy takes center stage. Attend and learn how personal credit union stories move the needle with lawmakers and regulators. MAXX takes place in Spokane Oct. 15-17, and there is still time to register.
  • Idaho Day at the Capitol, Jan. 22, 2020
  • Washington Day at the Capitol, Feb. 6, 2020
  • Oregon Legislative Lunch, Feb. 13, 2020
  • CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference, Feb. 24-26, 2020