It’s amazing what our industry can do when we come together to advocate for the issues most important to us.
Passing the Financial CHOICE Act out of the House in June was an enormous victory—one fueled by our synchronized work to tell Congress we need relief.
But now we must turn to the Senate. And I hope you’ll join our Campaign for Common-Sense Regulation to drive this victory home.
Over the past six months, CUNA and league advocates, credit union leaders, and thousands of credit union members have painted a clear picture about the need to unsaddle credit unions from one-size-fits-all regulations that are clearly inappropriate for credit unions and other small financial institutions.
That work, under the umbrella of our campaign, led to the House approving the CHOICE Act. This legislation carries a number of measures that will provide significant regulatory relief to credit unions.
No single effort made the difference in this important victory. It took all of us to tell our story to Congress, to remind them that credit unions did not cause the financial crisis, and to point out that regulating us the same way as mega financial institutions actually rigs the system in their favor.
We delivered that message during the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference, town hall meetings, and in-district visits; by writing op-eds and letters to the editor in our local papers; and by activating members through the CUNA Member Activation Program (MAP).
The result? A comprehensive bill reforming many of the problems the Dodd-Frank Act created.
This is an impressive accomplishment in such hyper partisan times in Washington. While the final legislation the House passed lacks several measures that would create even more comprehensive relief, our collective advocacy work clearly had an impact.
This is the blueprint as we sharpen our focus on the Senate.
We believe the Senate won’t be ready to act on financial regulatory reform until the fall, as health-care reform and the budget will continue to gobble up its attention over the next few months.
But that doesn’t mean we rest. It means we double down on our grassroots advocacy work so we’re poised to make a big splash when this issue comes to a head.
CUNA and the leagues will continue building on our relationships with key lawmakers in the Senate to inform them of how they can safeguard the important reforms enacted to protect consumers from abuse while also clearing away the obstacles that have hindered our service to members in recent years.
We believe there is bipartisan support for regulatory reform that would provide significant relief.
Meantime, the leagues are in the midst of a busy Hike the Hill season, with many credit union leaders traveling to Washington to underscore the points we’ve made all year about how lawmakers can soften the blow of regulations.
We’re thrilled to support those efforts, as many leagues meet with CUNA in advance to ensure alignment on our messaging. When the House and Senate are on recess, we urge credit unions to meet with their representatives during town hall meetings or to host them for in-branch visits.
These visits offer powerful opportunities to illustrate first-hand how regulations are harming credit unions’ ability to serve members in the safe and consumer-friendly way they always have.
And we’re continuing to promote education and engagement with CUNA MAP. The most successful advocacy organizations in Washington excel at funneling consumer voices or, ultimately, voter voices to the Hill.
With MAP, we can educate members about the issues, pull them into this fight, and influence policy in a major way.
We’ve made great progress, but we haven’t reached the finish line yet.
Let’s continue to work together so that, in the end, we can focus on what matters most: serving our members and communities better than any other financial institutions.
JIM NUSSLE is president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association.