Legislators praised the credit union difference and shared actions they hope to take to make credit unions’ operating environment easier Wednesday morning at the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, has high expectations for credit unions to make sure families are financially healthy.
“Many more of them trust you more than the big banks because you're rooted in community and have that relationship and you’ve earned it. You work with them on the biggest financial decisions of their lives, decisions about buying a house and sending their kids to college. That impacts their futures and their children’s futures,” he said. “These decisions aren’t just numbers and transactions for you and your employees. Your mission is to serve those members and make sure they prosper.”
Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., a member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, said she was proud to support the Credit Union Governance Modernization Act that was signed into law last year. She said she will continue to look out for credit unions.
“One of my most important jobs is protecting the tax status of credit unions,” she said. “You are not profit driven enterprises, you are enterprises devoted to the benefit of your members and you should be treated that way.”
House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., said credit unions represent the best of America, especially Main Street America.
“It doesn’t matter what your ideology is, what your political perspective is,” he said. “We need to make sure that you are able to continue to do your job, to provide that startup capital, provide that financial partnership that is so necessary for entrepreneurs and businesses across the country. That’s how we create the greatest economy on the face of the planet.”
Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, thanked credit unions via video.
“Your institutions are uniquely positioned to provide affordable products and services to your members in my district and across the country,” he said. “Community financial institutions like credit unions are able to address the needs of neighbors while at the same time assessing the best types of financial relationships that they can create with others.”
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, intends to continue her work with credit unions modernizing fields of membership.
“I introduced the Expanding Financial Access for Underserved Communities Act, which would allow federally chartered credit unions to expand their fields of membership in order to serve banking deserts where we have seen far too many bank branches close in recent years,” she said. “I was pleased to advance the bill through the House last Congress, and I hope the House and Senate will take it up this Congress.”
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., told attendees they must always be ready to protect their business model.
“If you want to protect your industry from the oversight and onslaught of rules and regulations from the regulators, you must push back,” he said. “Your association should take the lead and push back every chance they get. You should be 100% behind them and support them in every way. It’s that important.”
Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., member of the House Financial Services Committee and a regular CUNA GAC speaker, thanked credit unions and said people stop him in public to thank him for supporting credit unions.
“I never miss an opportunity to tell the CFPB that we put a section on Dodd-Frank telling them to have different regulations for smaller institutions. One size does not fit all,” he said. “I will continue to work with CUNA to push them in the right direction.”
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