Trade association representatives on Capitol Hill say senior leadership on the Senate Banking Committee, poised to replace Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) who recently announced he will retire at the end of the current congressional session, is credit union friendly.
Should Democrats retain Senate majority following the 2014 mid-term elections, Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) would be next in line to chair the committee. Last congress, Reed was an original co-sponsor of S. 2231, the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, which would have raised the member business lending cap to 27.5% of assets.
“He’s been supportive of credit unions and their members, and would do a great job as chairman,” Katie Marisic, NAFCU director of political affairs, said of Reed.
However, CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said Reed’s succession isn’t guaranteed. The process of naming congressional committee chairmen has “a bunch of different moving parts,” the CUNA lobbyist said.
“It doesn’t always follow seniority,” he said. “There will be a process at the beginning of the next Congress to determine this.”
For example, he said, if Reed were to be named the chairman of another committee, the next Democrat in line would be Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Donovan and Marisic agreed Schumer is credit union friendly, also having signed on as original co-sponsor of member business lending legislation.
Should the 2014 mid-term elections result in a change in Senate majority, the upper chamber’s committees would then be chaired by Republicans. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), who is currently the Banking Committee’s Ranking Member, would be in line to take over as chair should the GOP gain the majority.
Crapo, who supported the Durbin Amendment to the 2010 financial overhaul legislation, also supported 2011’s failed Tester-Corker Amendment, which would have delayed the Federal Reserve’s regulation of debit fees.
Crapo also sponsored, along with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), an amendment in 2009 that increased the NCUA’s borrowing authority from $100 million to $6 billion, to fund corporate stabilization efforts.
Both trade group representatives said Crapo has been receptive to credit union issues.
“He has a good relationship with Idaho credit unions, and he and his staff have always been receptive to our concerns,” Donovan said.