Ryan Donovan

CUNA victories in 2018 set up CU momentum going forward

December 20, 2018

CUNA came into 2018 with a bold, new advocacy agenda and saw historic victories this year as a result of unparalleled engagement and 360-degree advocacy. Execution of this agenda in the legislative, regulatory and judicial arenas helped ensured credit unions and their members are well-positioned going into 2019, said CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan.

“The CUNA/league system delivered historic victories for the credit union system in 2018, hard-fought wins that helped us meet the goal we set at the beginning of the year: to revolutionize the operating environment for credit unions,” Donovan said. “It’s because of our 360-degree advocacy, exploring opportunities from every angle, that our 2018 saw us remove regulatory barriers, expand credit union powers and protect the credit union tax status. We’re excited with the momentum we’ve got, and with continued support from our leagues, credit unions and members, we’ve got high hoped headed into 2019.”

Victories CUNA and state credit union leagues helped achieve in 2018 include:

Removing Regulatory Barriers

  • Congress enacted and President Donald Trump signed into law the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155), which included several credit union priorities, including important Dodd-Frank amendments, a charter enhancement provision to allow more member business lending, a provision that requires NCUA to hold an annual budget hearing and a provision that protects credit union officials that report suspected elder financial abuse;
  • CUNA aggressively engaged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to urge it to fix burdensome rules and slow the pace of new rules, and the bureau has not issued any new proposal that adds to credit unions’ regulatory burden;
  • CUNA successfully advocated for the CFPB to retain the Credit Union Advisory Council;
  • CUNA stood with credit unions facing frivolous litigation related to website accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act, filing more than ten amicus briefs, organizing several Congressional letters to the Department of Justice and partnering with state credit union leagues to secure a letter from state attorneys general to the Department of Justice;
  • CUNA submitted a comprehensive  white paper as a part of the CFPB reform process;
  • Credit unions received distributions from NCUA after CUNA was the only trade association to call for closure of the Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund;
  • CUNA successfully advocated for FASB to delay the implementation date of the new CECL accounting standard;
  • CUNA successfully advocated for NCUA to delay the implementation of the Risk-Based Capital Rule and narrow its applicability;
  • The CFPB removed overdraft protection from its rulemaking agenda and has slow-tracked its small business lending reporting rule, after years of CUNA advocacy on these issues; and
  • Successfully lobbied for the removal of a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2019, that would have put credit unions at a disadvantage when serving members on military bases.

Expanding credit union powers

  • Successfully advocated for modernization of NCUA’s member business lending (MBL) rule to exempt from the MBL cap loan participations purchased from other credit unions and loans made to one-to-four family nonowner occupied residences from the MBL cap;
  • Worked to secure funding for the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund and NCUA's Community Development Revolving Loan Fund after they were zeroed out in early appropriations legislation; and
  • Provided vital information to thousands of CUNA members through a series of webinars dealing with issues, including USAA litigation

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Preserving the credit union tax status

  • CUNA supported the successful efforts of the Iowa Credit Union League and others to preserve the credit union tax status at the state level.
  • CUNA defended the credit union federal income tax status when Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) asked NCUA to justify the credit union exemption from the federal income tax and urged the IRS to require federally-chartered credit unions to file annual IRS Form 990s by engaging Hatch and his staff;
  • In response to CUNA lobbying, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) introduced a large year-end tax bill that includes a repeal of the new tax law’s dreaded tax on fringe benefits provided by tax-exempt employers;
  • According to Ballast Research’s Policy Brand Roundtable study, the CUNA/League system ranks number one of all associations with respect to the extent to which policymakers view us as a unified voice representing our industry.