WASHINGTON (3/5/13)--The Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference last week in Washington, D.C., received widespread coverage in national and local media. Several national outlets, including Bloomberg and Businessweek, Reuters, Politico, American Banker, US Banker, The Hill blog and more covered key speakers and events during the week.
Others included mortgage and banking industry publications such as National Mortgage News, Bank Credit News, BankDirector.com and Mortgage Orb, as well as credit union trade press.
One of the standouts among press accounts included an American Banker (Feb. 28) item headlined: "Waters Backs Credit Union Biz Lending Bill."
It referred to a speech Wednesday at the GAC by U.S. Rep. Maxine (Calif.) Waters, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee." The article noted she expressed her support for two credit union bills before Congress: raising the member business lending cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25% and allowing credit unions to access supplemental capital.
Much of the reporting focused on the remarks of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who spoke at Wednesday's GAC session. National Mortgage News (Feb. 27) for example, quoted her statement: "Credit unions did not break this economy. They did not build business models around tricking their customers. When the economy faltered, they did not turn their backs on the families and small businesses that needed them."
It also noted that Warren told credit unions, "Credit unions that wouldn't adopt a business model based on tricks and traps were competing with slick outfits that pretended to underprice them. In other words, the game was rigged--rigged against customers and rigged against small financial institutions."
Other articles picked up Warren's defense of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which she helped establish, and of Director Richard Cordray against the GOP opposition to confirming a CFPB director.
National Mortgage News (Feb. 27) reported CFPB's Cordray as telling the GAC audience that credit unions are not the target of the CFPB and calling on credit unions to work with the agency to address consumer financial issues. Other reports focused on his call for lenders to move beyond safe qualified mortgage loans (American Banker Feb. 28 and BankDirector.com March 1). Cordray told credit unions they "should have confidence in your strong underwriting standards, and you should not be holding back" (BankDirector.com).
Reuters (Feb. 27) reported criticism of CFPB by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) at the GAC Tuesday. Although not referenced by Reuters, Hensarling also vowed to help credit unions preserve their tax-exempt status.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who spoke Tuesday at the GAC in his second address in three years before CUNA's audience, also was featured in reports about his focus on rewriting tax laws (Politico and Bloomberg Feb. 26).
The GAC culminated with 4,200 attendees hiking Capitol Hill to discuss credit union concerns such as preserving their tax-exempt status, enhancing the credit union charter with increased member business lending authority and supplemental sources of capital, and reducing the regulatory burden on credit unions.