Nussle writes to Congress on credit union priorities

WASHINGTON, DC (January 6, 2015) – CUNA President and CEO Jim Nussle sent the following letters on credit union priorities for the 114th Congress.

Members of the United States House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative:

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is excited to work with you and the 114th Congress on financial services issues affecting millions of Americans. CUNA is the largest credit union trade association in the United States, representing nearly 90 percent of America’s 6,300 state and federally chartered credit unions and their 102 million members.

As community based not-for-profit financial cooperatives, credit unions play an important role in your state and district, providing financial services to your constituents, including savings and checking accounts, mortgage, auto, personal and business lending. To continue these important services, we need help from Congress to protect the credit union tax status, remove regulatory barriers that prevent credit unions from fully serving their members, and hold merchants accountable for data breaches.

First, as Congress considers comprehensive tax reform, maintaining the current credit union tax status is critically important. The tax treatment of credit unions, which is based on the structure and mission of credit unions, continues to serve the purpose for which it was created. It is good public policy that causes the creation of substantial benefits to the public, far in excess of its cost. Simply put: a tax on credit unions would represent a tax increase for 102 million American credit union members.

Second, credit unions face a crisis of creeping complexity with respect to regulatory burden despite the fact that they did not cause the financial crisis and they have engaged in safe lending practices. Unnecessary and unwarranted regulatory change prompts certain upfront costs including: staff time and credit union resources; forms and disclosure changes; data processing systems reprogramming; and staff retraining. Many credit unions employ a small staff, and time spent on regulatory compliance is time away from member services. The time and resources spent on complying with unnecessary or unwarranted regulatory changes comes at the expense of credit union members. We want to work with you to remove barriers so that credit unions can more fully and efficiently serve their members.

Last, merchants must be held accountable for data breaches. Just two of the many data breaches that occurred in 2014 cost credit unions and their members over $90 million. To protect consumers and the financial institutions burdened with merchant data breaches, data security legislation should include three basic principles: all participants in the payments system should be responsible and be held to comparable levels of federal data security requirements; consumers should know where their information was breached; and, those responsible for a data breach should be responsible for the costs of helping consumers.

We look forward to working with you to ensure credit unions can continue to provide sound financial services for the more than 102 million consumers we serve nationwide. We hope to visit with you and your staff on these important credit union issues. In the meantime, I hope you will reach out to CUNA if you have any questions regarding credit unions.

All the best,

Jim Nussle President & CEO



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