We must understand and take advantage of what Congress can accomplish—even if the answer is “quite little.”
We’ve had success with this in the past. In the 113th Congress, we got Congress to enact legislation that extends share insurance coverage to lawyer trust accounts. And in the 112th Congress, we successfully pursued legislation that eliminated a requirement that credit unions put a physical placard on ATM machines.
These victories demonstrate that if we accurately assess what Congress can deliver and we apply our efforts to getting Congress to take action, we move forward.
In an environment in which victory begets victory, these small steps are critically important.
We’ve progressed on our priorities in Congress even when Congress hasn’t been able to act. For instance, we secured significant improvements to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) privacy notification regulation thanks to a strong legislative advocacy effort.
Likewise, NCUA made significant modifications to its risk-based capital proposal in large part because three-quarters of Congress weighed in on our behalf. A bill does not have to become law for credit unions to secure a legislative victory or, more important, to remove a barrier.
We’re actively pursuing an agenda that encourages Congress to remove the barriers that keep credit unions from fully serving their members. The individual pieces of this agenda may seem quite small. But taken together, these efforts represent a significant step toward removing these barriers.
In the 114th Congress, we’ll continue our efforts to preserve the credit union tax status as Congress engages in comprehensive tax reform. We also will pursue several bills dealing with reforms to the CFPB and improvements to its rules, as well as legislation that:
• Gives credit unions the same eligibility requirements for Federal Home Loan Bank membership as community banks;
• Makes it easier for credit unions to lend in rural areas;
• Improves the examination process; and
• Permits credit unions to access supplemental forms of capital.
We’re also continuing our “Stop the Data Breaches” effort, and look forward to the introduction of comprehensive legislation that includes a federal notification standard, new data security standards for merchants, and provisions that improve the process for reimbursing credit unions for costs they incur as a result of the breaches.
Some of these efforts fit more squarely than others into the category of “things Congress can accomplish.” But if the system can demonstrate support for the agenda and press it with Congress, we should continue to see progress with our efforts on Capitol Hill.