Hike the Hill

CU leaders continue march on Capitol Hill

September 22, 2015

Above: CUNA's Trey Hawkins (left) and LSCU's Jared Ross say visits to Capitol Hill help legislators put faces and names to issues affecting their constituents.

WASHINGTON (9/22/15)--Credit union leaders from throughout the country visited Washington, D.C. last week for their Hike-the-Hill visits, during which they received updates on the latest issues from CUNA and brought many of those issues to the attention of their legislators and regulators.

Jared Ross, senior vice president of association services and governmental affairs for the League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU), said visits to Capitol Hill help legislators put faces and names to issues affecting their constituents.

“Taking credit union officials to the Hill is always important. It gives the members of Congress and their staffs the opportunity to hear about the issues from a real-life perspective as opposed to hearing talking points,” Ross told News Now. “Additionally, it gives the credit union officials a chance to see their members and shows how committed they are to the cause.”

Credit unions from Florida and Alabama joined LCSU to meet with National Credit Union Administration staff, CUNA staff and their legislators during the visit. At a Sept. 16 briefing at Credit Union House, CUNA staff provided updates on the latest legislation affecting examination fairness, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau leadership and more.

Ross said this year the credit union tax exemption, data security, and regulatory relief were all topics of discussion with their congressional delegation, issues the legislators said they are committed to working on with credit unions.

“While no one believes that every regulation should be eliminated, we asked our delegations to look at the current regulatory environment and continue to make improvements that allow credit unions to better serve their members,” Ross told News Now.

The Cooperative Credit Union Association (CCUA) also held a two-day Hike-the-Hill event last week, meeting with a variety of Congress members to discuss issues ranging from regulatory relief to member business lending (MBL) to the exam cycle.

After meeting with lawmakers, on the second day of the trip the group traveled to Alexandria, Va., to meet with NCUA Chair Rick Metsger.

Paul Gentile, CCUA president/CEO, led the contingent of credit union leaders hailing from the three states the association represents: Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

“It was timely that we were on the Hill this week, as it was clear our lawmaker offices had been receiving a series of banker communications against MBL reform,” Gentile said. “It’s a shame the bankers won’t let the regulatory process play out. We rarely comment on banker legislation, let alone a regulatory rulemaking. Their efforts reflect their continued goal to minimize credit unions in the financial landscape.”

A number of other leagues held Hill visits last week as well, including the:

  • Georgia Credit Union Affiliates;
  • Mountain West Credit Union Association;
  • Northwest Credit Union Association;
  • Ohio Credit Union League; and
  • Utah Credit Union Association.