Onsite Coverage: Housing Finance, Avoiding Taxation and Data Security Atop NAFCU Legislative Agenda
SAN FRANCISCO — Fresh off the fight over debit interchange fees, NAFCU is now focusing its attention on goals such as trying to influence the shape of housing finance reform, preventing the taxation of credit unions and persuading lawmakers to approve stronger rules to prevent data breaches.
NAFCU Executive Vice President for Government Relations Dan Berger said Congress could be less activist after next year’s elections, which would help credit unions, if the Republicans take control of the Senate after next year’s elections. He said he predicts that will happen but warned that “Republicans are completely and utterly capable of screwing that up.”
Berger noted that while the Republicans who control the House have supported changes to the structure and funding mechanisms of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau those aren’t likely to pass the Senate as long as Democrats control that chamber.
Speaking during a session Friday at NAFCU’s annual conference, Berger and NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler said credit unions have to be especially vigilant about further efforts by lawmakers to increase their regulatory burden and making it harder to serve their members.
They noted that as lawmakers begin considering proposals to restructure the housing finance system and the government-sponsored mortgage buyers, NAFCU will fight to preserve a government presence access to the secondary market for credit unions.
In addition, they also want to be certain that any deficit-reduction plans don’t include requiring credit unions to pay federal taxes.
Berger said there are “no rumblings that we are being targeted by anyone except the banks,”’ but that NAFCU is being proactive.
Credit unions are concerned because some of the deficit-reduction proposals are urging the elimination of so-called “tax expenditures,” which are provisions of the tax code aimed at benefitting a particular sector of the economy, he said.
On data security, NAFCU wants provisions in legislation including: Mandating that breached entities pay the costs, especially if their negligence is to blame; implementing national standards for safekeeping information; and a mandate for a timely disclosure of the identities of companies and merchants whose data systems have been breached.