New York credit union executives and their business account members scored another vote for member business lending legislation this week, when a contingency visiting Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s office got the Democrat to verbally pledge she would vote yes should the bill come to a vote during the lame duck session.
The group was hiking the hill on Wednesday as part of an organized CUNA event in support of member business lending legislation during the lame duck session.
A release from the Credit Union Association of New York reported the group also prompted a phone call from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), primary sponsor of S. 2231, which would raise the member business lending cap to 27.5% of assets.
The call occurred during a Tuesday evening meeting with Schumer in which the powerful senator helped the credit union group strategize ways to pass the bill during the lame duck session. After hearing about efforts to get the bill to the Senate floor for a vote, Schumer immediately pulled out his cell phone and called Udall for an update and to discuss next steps.
Credit unions also scored open ears from Republican New York congressmen Chris Gibson and Michael Grimm, who said during their meetings with their constituents they would “closely review the legislation if it advances.”
“It was important to me to be part of this Hike because I wanted to voice my support one more time, knowing how close we are to achieving this goal,” said Ann Hynes, president/CEO of $68 million St. Pius X Church FCU of Rochester, N.Y.
“The tone of the meetings was very positive, and you could sense that we are close. It was clearly the right time for one more push,” Hynes said.
While in Washington, CUANY President/CEO William J. Mellin and Board Member John Gibardi, president/CEO of the $14 million Entertainment Industries FCU of New York City, met with NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz to discuss credit unions’ efforts and challenges following Hurricane Sandy.
Topics discussed included how credit unions are helping their members and communities; lessons learned; the importance of cooperation; the success of shared branching following the hurricane; and future challenges credit unions may face, particularly in mortgage lending.
“I was encouraged to hear that the agency is taking steps to encourage credit unions to assist distressed members by allowing flexibility in meeting lending needs,” Gibardi said. “This—paired with NCUA’s commitment to have field staff recognize that members may also need flexibility in repaying those loans in the future—is exactly what credit unions need.”