Kentucky credit union leaders meet with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) during their Hike the Hill visits to Washington, D.C. (Kentucky Credit Union League photo)

Leagues, CUs talk, NDAA, cannabis, data security during Hill visits

September 26, 2019

Six credit union leagues representing 14 states were in Washington, D.C. last week to meet with dozens of elected officials and policymakers about ways they could help credit unions serve members and consumers better.

Staff and member credit unions from the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (CUAD), Cooperative Credit Union League, Cornerstone Credit Union League, Kentucky Credit Union League, Northwest Credit Union Association and Wisconsin Credit Union League were among the visitors.

This was the ninth year representatives from CUAD made a fall Hike the Hill visit and President/CEO Jeff Olson said they spent “two jam-packed days” talking with regulators and legislators about issues affecting Dakota credit unions and members.

“Each year, our trip evolves and builds on previous experiences. Most importantly, it gives our participants the opportunity to put a personal context on issues that we can’t get with a phone call, letter or email,” he said. “To continue to be effective credit union advocates and stand out among all the clutter of other competing special interests in D.C., we need to stay engaged throughout the year, and that is why advocacy is always a top priority at CUAD.”

The trip also included attendance at NCUA’s Sept. 19 meeting.

More than 40 representatives from the Cooperative Credit Union Association received updates from CUNA advocacy staff, met with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) staff, NCUA board members and then visitors from Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island met with their members of Congress.

Priorities discussed included keeping a harmful provision out of the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), support for cannabis banking, concerns about the upcoming current expected credit loss (CECL) standard and more.

The group from the Cornerstone Credit Union League featured more than 30 credit union advocates that saw briefings with NCUA board members, and meetings with members of Congress and a meeting with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Kathy Kraninger.

Priorities included support for a bill to study the effects of the current expected credit loss (CECL) accounting standard, removing a provision from the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act and the importance of data security and privacy legislation.

"What a productive couple of days we enjoyed at this year's Hike the Hill," said Cornerstone President/CEO Caroline Willard. "I think our very knowledgeable advocates delivered the important messages our lawmakers and regulators needed to hear and engaged in some productive conversations with all of the key policymaking regulators. I don't think you can find better-prepared and more enthusiastic advocates than those from the Cornerstone region."

Representatives from Kentucky credit unions and the Kentucky Credit Union league met with member’s of the state’s Congressional delegation (including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)), staff from the CFPB and NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood and board member Todd Harper

The group from the NWCUA met with 17 members of Congress and NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood during their time in Washington, D.C. Discussion priorities also included the NDAA, cannabis banking, delaying NCUA’s risk-based capital rule and more.

Christopher Bradberry, president/CEO of Fibre FCU and TLC CU, Seaside, Ore., said the trip was both important and successful.

“At Fibre Federal and at TLC, we maintain positive relationship with our state and federal legislators, and in we stay in contact to message credit union priorities,” Bradberry said. “The opportunity to also meet face-to-face with our leaders on the Hill allows us to talk about timely issues that ultimately will help us to better serve our members on Main Street back in Washington and Oregon.”

The Wisconsin Credit Union League met with both of the state’s Senators and the state’s Congressional delegation at Credit Union House and with NCUA board member Todd Harper. Discussion priorities included the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595) and the importance of data security and what it means for credit unions.