WASHINGTON (1/5/16)--2016 brings with it a short legislative calendar and a busy regulatory year, both with opportunities to improve the operating environment for credit unions, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) believes.
“2016 promises to be an interesting and important year from an electoral perspective, and a short year from a legislative perspective,” said CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan. “We’re looking at a legislative period that will begin this month and extend to about Memorial Day, and then there will be an opportunity after the election in the inevitable lame duck session to get legislation pushed through.”
The Senate and House schedules for the first few weeks of this year are out of sync. The House is in session this week, both will be in session next week and only the Senate will be in session the following week.
During the last week of January, both chambers will convene to listen to President Barack Obama’s final state of the union address, but will leave town early due to party retreats.
Both chambers will take a seven-week recess, starting in early July and running through the end of August, this year due to party conventions. The House will be out session all of October and the first two weeks of November, while the Senate will be in session the first week of October and out the rest of the month and the first two weeks of November.
On the regulatory front, CUNA Deputy Chief Advocacy Officer Elizabeth Eurgubian says credit unions can expect an active year, and a slight shift in the trend of proposed regulations.
“In the prior years, the emphasis has been on mortgage regulations, now we’re starting to steer away from that and getting into these other types of products,” she said. “We expect to see some regulatory activity from the CFPB on issues relating to debt collection, payday/small-dollar loans, overdraft protection products, arbitration and we also expect to possibly see some final rules
Eurgubian added that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is also likely to issue final rules on its fiduciary proposal and overtime rule, and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is likely to finalize its field of membership proposal.
CUNA has engaged with the CFPB, DOL and NCUA in recent months to share credit union concerns about those specific proposals, and to demonstrate how members of not-for-profit financial cooperatives often have different relationships to credit unions and products they offer than banks.