360-degree advocacy: That’s what we call the credit union advocacy strategy. It means fierce, bold advocacy that addresses credit union public policy issues from all angles, saturating policymakers with our message in Washington and at home. It’s a unified effort brought to bear by the strong advocacy partnership that credit unions, Leagues, and CUNA have built over decades.
Now, as folks from just about every walk of life have been affected by the global pandemic, and with demand for policymakers’ attention at an all-time high, it’s as important as ever that we execute our 360-degree strategy to ensure credit unions remain in a position to improve their members’ financial well-being and advance the communities they serve.
The good news is that we have a lot to show for our efforts.
So far this year, we’ve already seen League-led credit union victories in 40 states. In Kansas and Massachusetts, reinforcing our financial inclusion message has helped expand fields of membership and modernize credit union charters. In Arkansas and Rhode Island, reminding lawmakers our role as defenders against financial abuse and exploitation helped strengthen suspicious reporting requirements. And across the country from Arizona to Maine, credit unions passed much-needed operational modernization legislation to continue meeting members where they need us most.
There’s a lot to celebrate on the federal level, too.
Earlier this year, a U.S. Supreme Court decision supported our position on a narrow definition of an automated telephone dialing system, bringing needed clarity to the regulatory and legal landscape. It also helps ensure that credit unions can contact members with important updates and information, which is why we supported the narrow definition.
With credit unions’ support, Congress recently rescinded a rule from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency that would have opened the doors to payday lenders to use national bank charters to circumvent state usury laws. In the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC), lawmakers have advanced a bill to make Central Liquidity Facility enhancements permanent, expanding credit union access to capital for those in need.
HFSC is also working on draft legislation to make field-of-membership and member business lending updates to help us reach underserved communities and businesses; legislation that would not exist without our continued engagement with Chairwoman Waters and other key members of the committee.
At the NCUA, the Board has finalized CECL transition methodology and allowed for the capitalization of interest, all direct requests made by CUNA and the Leagues during our engagement.
The NCUA Board has also extended Prompt Corrective Action flexibility for credit unions through March 2022, going just about as far as they’re able to under current law to provide this relief.
And, we have a plan to address the rigid PCA requirements and prohibitions in the Federal Credit Union Act that hamper NCUA’s ability to do more to help credit unions. That’s why we’ve pushed for Congress to call for Federal Credit Union updates to allow NCUA to provide temporary PCA forbearance.
Every single victory that our movement achieves comes about because we tell a complete story to policymakers, pairing statistical data with consumers’ lived experiences to demonstrate the difference credit unions make in communities across the country. This collaborative 360-degree work ensures we continue to stave off frivolous attacks from bankers, preserve our tax status, and continue to deliver for credit union members.
As we continue to cope with the economic realities of the pandemic, to modernize in the face of ever-advancing technology, and to work with policymakers who appear more divided than ever before, it’s that 360-degree advocacy strategy that will make sure that our movement and mission endure.