Key committee leaders support CU priorities

February 15, 2021

The 117th Congress has officially named chairs and ranking members for its committees, and many committee leaders are familiar faces to credit unions and Leagues.

The Senate has a new set of chairs and ranking members as Democrats control the chamber in the 117th Congress.

Senate Banking Committee

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is the new chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Brown, who has been ranking member of the committee in the previous two Congresses, is a strong credit union supporter.

“For more than a decade, the CUNA/League system and Ohio’s credit unions have worked directly with Senator Sherrod Brown and his accomplished team to drive deeper awareness of financial cooperatives and their unique ability to help people and advance communities,” said Emily Leite, chief advocacy officer at the Ohio Credit Union League. “Working with Senator Brown as the Chairman on areas of common interest, such as financially empowering members, affordable housing, and inclusive financial services and opportunities, will only further promote stronger people, families, and businesses everywhere through credit unions.”

Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.) is the newly appointed ranking member on the Senate Banking Committee, and he has worked close with the CrossState Credit Union League.

“We are very pleased with the appointment of Senator Toomey as ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee,” said CrossState Credit Union Association President/CEO Patrick Conway.  “We look forward to continuing the close working relationship we have had with the Senator and his excellent team on matters of importance to New Jersey and Pennsylvania credit unions. His strong banking and business background have been an asset to his ability to balance the needs of the marketplace with the interests of consumers.”

Senate Finance Committee

The Senate Finance Committee will be led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who served as ranking member in the previous Congress. He has consistently engaged with credit unions advocates, said Northwest Credit Union Association President/CEO Troy Stang, who also serves as chairman of CUNA’s board.

“As the Ranking Member of the Committee on Finance, he has championed the same focus credit unions have focused on since their inception: looking out for people’s financial well-being. He supports credit unions’ business lending and was the primary sponsor of the 1:4 non-owner-occupied provision that was included in the historic S.2155, allowing credit unions to ultimately serve more Main Street businesses,” Stang said. Sen. Wyden understands how credit unions’ not-for-profit, cooperative structure provides tangible economic value to consumers and to the economy, and has long appreciated their community impact, and for this reason has been a steadfast defender of credit unions’ tax status.”

The ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee will be Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), previous chair of the Senate Banking Committee.

“Both Sen. Wyden and Sen. Crapo have long supported legislation that helps credit unions to serve their members. Sen. Crapo, who most recently served as Chair of Senate Banking, championed the successful passage of S. 2155, which included a number of credit union priorities, including the 1-4 non-owner occupied lending provision that ultimately allows credit unions to serve more Main Street businesses,” Stang said. “We are optimistic about this committee’s ability to work in a bipartisan manner.”

House Financial Services Committee

Leadership of the House Financial Services Committee and House Ways and Means Committee remain the same for the 117th Congress, and Leagues are excited to continue the economic recovery work from the last Congress.

Diana Dykstra, president/CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, said the League has a “great working relationship” with Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and her team.

“The Chairwoman specifically has been supportive of our initiatives to expand member business lending, and, of course, our tax status. As she has at the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference, she frequently refers to our tax status as ‘American as apple pie,’” Dykstra said. “We look forward to working with the Chairwoman on addressing capital, field of membership, data security, and access to all markets for credit unions.”

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) will also continue as ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee.

“Credit unions in the Carolinas benefit from the hard work of Congressman Patrick McHenry and his team. He has been accessible both in Washington D.C. and here in North Carolina, and is always responsive, willing to listen, and ready to ask challenging questions. His staff reaches out regularly to our advocacy team for perspectives on policies considered by the House Financial Services Committee,” said Carolinas Credit Union League President/CEO Dan Schline. “That was demonstrated most recently when Congressman McHenry sought feedback from us on several COVID-related initiatives, including PPP. Our advocacy team and our credit unions in North Carolina have worked hard to develop that relationship.”

House Ways and Means Committee

The House Ways and Means Committee will remain under the leadership of Chairman Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Ranking Member Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas).

Ron McLean, president/CEO of the Cooperative Credit Union Association said the League and its member credit unions look forward to continuing their strong relationship with Neal.

“Rep. Neal understands the important role credit unions play in serving their members, businesses, and communities in his district. He continually has been accessible to our association and credit union leaders and has been eager to understand our issues,” he said. “I’ve shared with Rep. Neal and other legislators that credit unions are a partner to build a better America and look forward to working with him and his staff in 2021 and beyond.”

Jim Phelps, EVP and chief advocacy officer of the Cornerstone Credit Union League, said Brady is a champion of credit unions.

“Rep. Brady has been steadfast in his support for credit unions in a number of key areas, meeting with credit unions in Washington, D.C. and back home in the 8th Texas congressional district,” said Jim Phelps, EVP and chief advocacy officer, Cornerstone League. “As Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee [from 2015 to 2019], he consistently demonstrated support for the credit union tax status and our cooperative structure. He has also demonstrated support for legislation that would mitigate regulatory burdens on credit unions so we can focus more resources on serving our members.”