Ryan Donovan

CUs are ‘ready-made solution’ for financial inclusion

March 2, 2021

Credit unions “showing their work” is critical to advocacy success, CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan said during his remarks Tuesday at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference. Donovan said credit unions play a critical role helping Americans, and when they show their work, policymakers listen.

“The work you do to improve your members’ financial well-being and advance the communities you serve makes our advocacy progress possible. It helps advance our system’s advocacy agenda, and frankly, made the work of executing our 360-degree advocacy strategy that much easier,” he says. “But we face challenges ahead, and we need to redouble our efforts to tell the story and show the impact. We need to maintain our progress and take advantage of opportunities to advance our agenda in a fundamentally different political environment.”

As the new Congress and administration start working on combating the effects of the pandemic and return to normal legislative activity, Donovan says he expects a focus on financial inclusion and equity.

“This is an opportunity for credit unions: policymakers have a need, and we hold the ready-made people-over-profit solution,” Donovan says, adding that with new leadership at NCUA and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), credit unions’ message needs to be clear.

“As America focuses on rebuilding from the worst public health crisis of our lifetimes, policy should enable—not impede—credit unions’ work to improve their members' financial well-being and advance the communities they serve,” he says.

This means:

  • Congress should ensure that future coronavirus (COVID-19) recovery packages include provisions that give NCUA the ability to offer prompt corrective action flexibility for credit unions impacted by the pandemic.
  • NCUA should ensure credit unions aren’t penalized with new regulatory or supervisory requirements because balance sheets have been inflated by pandemic-related stimulus.
  • Regulators need to adopt a “do no harm” approach to regulatory review.
  • Congress should take a fresh look at modernizing the Federal Credit Union Act in ways that help credit unions promote financial inclusion and economic equity.
  • Congress must enact a national data security and privacy law with a strong security standard that applies to all entities that hold consumer data and is a single rule for the road, preempting state law.
  • It is critical Congress preserve the credit union tax status because credit unions are fulfilling their mission and deliver financial benefits that are nine times the “cost” of the exemption to the government.

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