Leagues in Georgia and New Jersey and credit unions in Florida and Maine are the latest credit union stakeholders to write in support of the Senate’s bipartisan regulatory relief bill, S. 2155. The Senate is currently in the process of considering the bill, and CUNA has issued its own call to action, in addition to continued grassroots efforts, to keep up the momentum from stakeholders as it prepares for a vote on the Senate floor.
Mike Mercer, president of Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, called the bill a “boon to Main Street” in a letter to Valdosta CEO.
“Provisions in this bill would ease mortgage lending and free up capital for small businesses, two essential ways to grow an economy that has suffered from both a financial crisis and the regulations put in place in response to it,” Mercer wrote. “The regulatory relief this bill provides is a major step forward in moving away from a system that treats credit unions and community banks the same as the biggest banks.”
In The Township Journal, David Frankil, president/CEO of the New Jersey Credit Union League, said S. 2155 would help some key economic issues in the state, and urged Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) to support the bill.
“In New Jersey, credit unions and small banks help our communities thrive and our small businesses grow. When credit got tight during the downturn, we were there as primary lenders, and we’re still the ones our communities turn to when they need mortgages and auto loans,” he wrote. “But small, local financial institutions are getting hammered by regulations designed for the far bigger firms that caused the financial meltdown.”
Laurie Gaudreau of York County FCU, Sanford, Maine, specifically highlighted the provision that would grant credit unions parity with banks on certain real estate loans, freeing up capital for small businesses, in a letter to the Journal Tribune.
“S. 2155 would grant credit unions parity with banks when making loans for the purchase of one-to-four unit, non-owner occupied residential property loans. These loans are designated real estate loans for banks, but business loans for credit unions,” she wrote. “This means such loans count against the statutory member business lending cap for credit unions. I value the members we serve at York County Federal Credit Union, but I often have to turn them away when they want to finance one of these properties…This doesn’t make sense – but S. 2155 would fix this.”
Elsewhere in Maine, Tina Jamo, president/CEO of Katahdin FCU, Milinocket, said the bill would make it easier for Maine families to buy homes and start businesses in her op-ed in the Bangor Daily News.
"Here in Maine, credit unions have nearly 700,000 members. By design, these institutions are intertwined with their local communities...Our story is not unique across credit unions in Maine. For instance, since 1990, Maine’s credit unions have raised more than $8 million for a campaign to end hunger in the state," she wrote. "Community lenders like us are getting crushed by Dodd-Frank. The average credit union’s regulatory compliance costs have jumped 70 percent in the past decade. Roughly 1 in 4 credit union employees spends a “significant” amount of time filling out regulatory paperwork.
And in the Tampa Bay Times, Mary Ott Wood, president/CEO of Florida West Coast CU, Brandon, Fla., said the bill would increase mortgage lending to those who need it, and urged Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to support it.
“This bill will increase access to affordable mortgages, which will help millions of Americans build equity while supporting a housing market still recovering from the economic crisis. It would also increase the amount of capital available for credit union small business members to allow more Americans to invest in themselves and in their communities,” she wrote. “And it would add important consumer protections, all while leaving current consumer protections in place, especially protections against Wall Street.”
Wood was part of a group that met with President Donald Trump last week during CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference to talk S. 2155 and other regulatory relief issues.