WASHINGTON -- Two of credit unions' strongest allies in Congress introduced legislation in the waning days of the 109th Congress to expand thrift auto lending, which has left NAFCU asking, "What about credit unions?"
Authors of the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (H. R. 2317) Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) and Ed Royce (R-Calif.) have introduced a bill, the Auto Loan Limit Adjustment Act (H.R. 6323) that would remove the limitations on consumer auto loans for thrift institutions.
"We definitely have some concerns," NAFCU Director of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler stated. "As part of the regulatory relief process, we were big advocates of parity." This was a provision of the larger regulatory relief bill, but was ultimately stripped out by the Senate.
Thaler called the effort a "Hail Mary" by the thrifts to slip something through before Congress adjourns, "but if they're really going to push" NAFCU hopes credit union items are included in there. "If they're going to do something for thrifts on auto lending, why not do something for credit unions in member business lending?" he reasoned. He would not speculate whether comparable credit union legislation would be introduced, but called Kanjorski and Royce "true" credit union "champions."
However, both have expressed interest in regulatory relief, so he was not that surprised by the legislative action. Kanjorski and Royce's offices have not returned calls for comment.
Thaler added that NAFCU continues to tout member business lending expansions and risk-based capital reform on the Hill. CUNA declined to comment.