Without election pressures to contend with, Dodd could be freer to make deals needed to produce a bill that can pass the Senate, where Republicans can still hold sway despite the Democrats' large majority.
"He's always had a reputation for forging compromises that are bipartisan, and this could help him accomplish this on the regulatory issue," said NAFCU Executive Vice President Dan Berger.
The largest bone of contention between the parties in that chamber is on the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, which the Republicans strongly oppose.
A wide ranging restructuring measure, including a provision creating the CFPA, passed the House last month, almost entirely along party lines.
CUNA Vice President Ryan Donovan said Dodd may have some more additional freedom to maneuver "because there is a strong desire among some lawmakers to get something done." But he said getting a bill through the Senate could be quite challenging because of the increasing partisan divide in that chamber.
Dodd unveiled a regulatory reform package last month that was criticized by colleagues on both sides of the aisle. So he broke the committee down into two-member bipartisan task forces charged with finding solutions to several key issues.
When Dodd announced his retirement on Jan. 6 he said, "This is my moment to step aside" and acknowledged that he is in "the toughest shape of my political career."
Dodd, who has been at the center of the Senate's debates on regulatory restructuring and health care reform, has received money from the political action committees of both CUNA and NAFCU for his re-election campaign. During the current six-year campaign cycle, CUNA's PAC gave Dodd $7,000 and NAFCU's PAC gave him $6,000.
Dodd, who trailed one potential GOP opponents-World Wrestling Entertainment Founder Linda McMahon-by double digits, was hurt because of a series of missteps. These included including mounting a long-shot presidential campaign at the height of the financial crisis when some critics thought he should be attending to committee business. He also accepted special mortgage rates from Countywide Financial President/CEO Angelo Mozilo.
Dodd has served in the Senate since 1981 and was a House member for six years before that.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has announced he will seek the Democratic nomination to succeed Dodd. McMahon is competing in a four-candidate field for the GOP nomination.