Legislators not only praised credit unions for the work they do advancing communities, but shared the policies they’re pushing to help make that work easier Tuesday at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC).
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, said he was well aware that credit unions did not cause the financial crisis, and said he is against policies that treat credit unions as if they did.
“I think everything we do in the Financial Services Committee should be aimed at America’s Main Street financial institutions,” he said. “And the frontline of that are you, the leaders of the credit unions in our communities.”
Keeping with the theme shared by CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle, Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan and others at CUNA GAC, McHenry urged attendees to use those stories to get lawmakers to see the work they do.
“You being here in Washington enables policymakers to put real stories and real lives to these complex pieces of regulation and law,” he says. “You can tell how very simple legislation here become very complex in your institution and make it very expensive for you to provide basic products to your members. Those are the stories you need to tell.”
Gardner, who introduced the Senate version of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, said he and co-sponsor Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) continue to work with Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) on the bill. Crapo requested public feedback on the bill and CUNA sent a response.
“Sen. Crapo, Sen. Merkley and I have made great progress on the details of the SAFE Banking Act. We are working through some of the objectives Sen. Crapo has in terms of safety, research, and guidance,” Gardner said. “We’re doing it in a way that respects state’s rights, that respects the voters of the states, that moves forward on this.
“I believe that in a matter of months we can have a vote on a compromise version in the Senate that will have the support of 60-plus of my colleagues and of the House of Representatives,” he added.
Gardner also reiterated his support for a “a pro-growth cybersecurity plan that we don’t regulate credit unions out of business but make sure we’re working in partnership for common-sense privacy protections that’s not a patchwork quilt of regulations.”
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) also listed a number of bills he supports to help credit unions advance the communities they’re in.
“You’ve earned your role in our society by serving your members, we ought to change a few rules so you can do it better,” he said.
He said he has been “fighting for years” to raise the credit union member business lending cap, which would free up $16 billion in capital for small business and create up to 150,000 jobs.
Sherman also said he continues to call on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to exempt credit unions from certain rulemakings.
“I never miss an opportunity to tell the CFPB that we put section 1022 into Dodd-Frank for a reason. It gives them the authority to modify regulations or use exemptions for smaller financial institutions,” he said. “One size does not fit all. These are regulations, not socks.”
►Visit CUNA News for more conference coverage and get live updates on Twitter via @CUNA_News, @cumagazine, @CUNA, and #CUNAGAC. Follow the conference on Facebook and Instagram, and visit cuna.org/gac for more information.