Top advocacy priorities for credit union growth in 2019

Credit unions have always put people first. And right now, we are seeing their dedication to their member-owners on full display as the longest government shutdown in history continues.  Without hesitation, credit unions stepped in to help members make ends meet by providing interest-free loans to bridge the gap until the next paycheck.

Time and time again, credit unions prove they are the better choice when it comes to financial services. But it’s not just during a shutdown when the industry steps up. Since the 2008 financial crisis, credit unions have stood by families and consumers and carried them along while big banks and predatory lenders took advantage. As a result, we’ve seen growth, even as consolidations and mergers increase and as the compliance burden grows.  

In 2019, we have the opportunity to build on this momentum while working together to push back against the greedy big banks, promote innovation, and create a national data and cybersecurity standard.

These are the top advocacy issues to watch this year:

Growth: Support legislation and regulation that helps credit unions grow membership, loans, and revenue. Specifically:

Strong NCUA: NCUA should be the sole industry regulator and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection should not have powers over credit unions.

Together we should encourage the NCUA to:

  • Retain the NCUA Board structure
  • Increase exam fairness efforts
  • Foster collaborative, informed, and streamlined regulations

Transparency: Encourage government accountability, including reducing NCUA’s overall operating budget, reforming the bureau structure, and getting additional National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) distributions for credit unions.

Regulatory relief: Ensure a healthy regulatory environment for credit unions to thrive. Reducing regulatory burdens will give credit unions the ability to put more resources towards serving members. Key issues to watch:

  • Eliminate duplicative and unnecessary regulation
  • Clarify UDAAP in order to better serve your members and avoid penalties
  • Reform the Telephone Consumer Protection Act  with clear provisions that focus on combatting illegal robocalls without hindering credit unions’ ability to contact members with important account information
  • Obtain more guidance on the current expected credit loss standard

Tax exemption: Maintaining the credit union tax exemption is essential not only for credit unions and their members, but for our nation’s economy. The credit union tax exemption saves U.S. consumers $16 billion annually, protects nearly 1 million jobs, and keeps the focus on members, not profits.

Fair and innovative market: As the markets change, so must our industry. Here are just a few of the key issues that we, as an industry, need to advocate for in order to foster an environment that lets us grow:

  • Create a national data and cybersecurity standard
  • Establish regulation of fintech companies
  • Stop the Community Reinvestment Act from extending over credit unions who are already committed to community reinvestment and serving unbanked and underbanked communities
  • Protect American consumers from the exploitive behavior of some big banks, as well as help limit the economic impact of these “too big to fail” institutions in the event of an economic downturn by supporting the appropriate implementation of the Volcker rule and exploring the reintroduction of a modern Glass-Steagall Act 

Growing and thriving together

At NAFCU, we will continue to tell your stories and take the right positions on issues – even when others back down. We will stop at nothing to ensure a legislative and regulatory environment that promotes viability and growth for credit unions. Because to us, it’s personal.

B. Dan Berger

B. Dan Berger

B. Dan Berger became NAFCU president and CEO on Aug. 1, 2013. He joined NAFCU in January 2006 as senior vice president of government affairs overseeing five divisions including legislative ... Web: Details