Although it’s customary every January to do a “look ahead” piece full of prognostications about the year to come, I’m going to buck tradition and limit my Washington outlook to the first quarter of 2016.

Why? Because the conflict between credit unions and the bank lobby could come to a boiling point in the coming weeks over NCUA regulatory relief efforts. Proposed rules regarding member business lending and field of membership have clearly gotten the attention of the bank lobby, and no matter how valid and useful these reforms are, bankers appear poised to ratchet up an unprecedented level of opposition. Credit unions need to be ready to respond.

Banker reaction last summer to the update of the member business lending rules provides an early glimpse into what to expect. About 75% of the 3,000 comment letters submitted were from bankers. While many submissions were perfunctory (“Dear NCUA, we don’t like you or credit unions or this rule. Sincerely, Banker”), others at least attempted substantive criticism.

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