Trades Prepare Final Pitch for CU Bills
Credit union trades are poised to make a last minute push for passage of key bills in the Senate that have already passed the House.
The Privacy Notification Modernization Act, which passed the House unanimously, would change current law that requires a privacy notification be sent to a member annually. Under the bill, a credit union would only need to send a privacy notice to members if there has been a change in language from previous year. Both CUNA and NAFCU said the bill would reduce expenses for credit unions.
According to CUNA, the Credit Union Share Insurance Fund Parity Act, which awaits Senate action, would direct the NCUA to issue a regulation extending share insurance to owners of funds held in trust accounts opened and managed by credit union members.
“This bill is a parity bill which provides credit unions the same opportunity as other financial institutions to serve their members and the community,” Ryan Donovan, SVP of legislative affairs at CUNA, said.
The Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act of 2014 is another piece of legislation supported by NAFCU and CUNA that has not been passed by the Senate.
CUNA said the legislation would fix a drafting error from a 1989 bill that opened the Federal Home Loan Bank system to commercial banks and federally chartered credit unions. Under the bill, the 130 privately insured credit unions would be able to apply for membership in the Federal Home Loan Bank system.
Donovan said the bill would strengthen privately insured credit unions by offering additional liquidity and enabling them to make more home mortgage loans.
“We have been meeting with folks through the recess on those bills and will continue to push them when Congress returns,” Donovan said.
Jillian Pevo, NAFCU director of legislative affairs, told CU Times NAFCU would like to see the Senate act on the House passed Mortgage Choice Act of 2013, which would adjust the calculation of points and fees under the CFPB's qualified mortgage rule.
NAFCU is also advocating for Senate passage of the CFPB Rural Designation Petition and Correction Act, which would require the CFPB to set up an application process for a county to request designation as a rural area.
Brad Thaler, NAFCU vice president of legislative affairs, said getting these bills passed before the next Congress begins will be an uphill fight.
“We still have some time left this year. We would like to get something done on those since they already passed the House,” Thaler said.
Thaler was also asked why he thinks Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who the trades have considered a credit union supporter, has not acted on the bills.
“Many of these measures are basically candidates to go either as part of a larger package or unanimous consent. Typically, when you are this late in a session, you’re not going to see the Senate actually devote the floor time that they need to for debate on these issues,” he responded. “Usually a lot of work is done behind the scenes to try to put these into a package and try to get every senator to sign off to let it go by unanimous consent.”
NAFCU contributed $5,000 to Reid’s re-election campaign in 2010. CULAC contributed the $10,000 legal maximum to Reid's re-election campaign and the maximum $30,000 to his leadership PAC as well as $152,535 for an independent expenditure urging his re-election. Since the 2010 election, CULAC has given $6,000 to Reid's 2016 re-election and an additional $20,000 to his leadership PAC.
Thaler said NAFCU has met with Reid’s staff to go over options for the lame duck session.
“The sooner we have measures in the Senate in the new Congress, the more opportunities that we have. It’s kind of late in the game now. There’s limited opportunities,” he said.
Donovan also floated the possibility of the Republican-controlled House and Senate taking up tax reform.
“That’s something we’re going to have to be engaged in,” he said.
Thaler said NAFCU is focused on advancing data security issues, lifting the member business lending cap and supplemental capital legislation heading into the next Congress.
Donovan said CUNA’s broader legislative agenda for the next Congress is still in development.
“Our agenda will closely align with what credit unions have consistently told us is important to them: Preserving the tax status, reducing regulatory burden, enhancing the charter and ending merchant data breaches,” he said.