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New Round Of 'Don't Tax' Advocacy To Launch Sept. 10

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WASHINGTON (9/6/13)--With Congress returning to Washington early next week, the Credit Union National Association and state credit union leagues have refocused their national grassroots efforts on tax reform.
 
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) remain committed to comprehensive tax reform, having spent the August recess touring the country in support of tax reform, and hoping to have legislation drafted by late September. In response CUNA has planned a number of initiatives in September to keep the "Don't Tax My Credit Union" message before Congress.

Building on the success of the first #DontTaxTuesday campaign, CUNA
Click to view larger image Click for larger view
members will welcome back Congress on Sept. 10 with another #DontTaxTuesday promotion. The campaign will include a large social media push, in which credit union members and advocates nationwide will Tweet their lawmakers or post on their Facebook page a "Don't Tax My Credit Union" message. Advocates wishing to participate should visit www.DontTaxMyCreditUnion.org starting on Sept. 10, where they will be able to post directly to their lawmaker's Twitter and Facebook accounts.
 
The latest advocacy push will also engage Latino and Spanish-speaking credit union members with "No Le Cobren Impuestos a mi Credit Union," the Spanish-language version of the Don't Tax My Credit Union campaign, which will be available online soon. Included will be a Spanish-language toolkit, video message, action center, and special materials for the toolkit. 

CUNA has also helped organize a massive in-person Hike the Hill presence in Washington, with 20 leagues representing 28 states carrying the Don't Tax My Credit Union message to Capitol Hill in September and October.
 
Coupled with online advertising targeted at likely credit union member activists, the renewed effort is expected to generate many new contacts to federal lawmakers and their staffs. It will also build support for CUNA's National Virtual Rally, planned for Wednesday, Oct. 2. Rather than rallying supporters at the National Mall--like so many campaigns do--this movement will rally tens of thousands of credit union members nationwide online. Emphasis will be placed on social media and a renewed  www.DontTaxMyCreditUnion.org to encourage and generate new contacts.

(See related story: MD/DC CUs Rally At CU House For Don't Tax Campaign.)

CUNA Notes Right To CU Membership Through Association

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 WASHINGTON (9/6/13)--Following the National Credit Union Administration's Letter to Credit Unions on common bond advertising requirements, Credit Union National Association Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn urged federal credit unions with associational memberships to review their policies and practices, as they do periodically, to ensure their continued compliance with federal regulation.
 
CUNA is currently working with the National Credit Union Administration to determine how many federal credit unions offer membership through an association.
 
On Wednesday, the NCUA reminded federal credit unions of their advertising requirements in a new letter titled, "Potential Violations of Common Bond Advertising Requirements" (13-FCU-03). The letter does not apply to state-chartered credit unions.
 
In the letter, the NCUA addressed:
  • Common bond requirements in the Federal Credit Union Act and NCUA rules;
  • Requirements for accuracy of advertising in NCUA rules; and
  • Consequences of failing to comply with these requirements.
"Upholding the membership standards of every federal credit union charter is essential to maintaining the integrity of the federal credit union system," the NCUA letter said. 
 
CUNA, however, underscores that consumers have a right to join associations and federal credit unions are authorized to serve association members.
 
"They have done so effectively under the law to ensure more consumers have access to credit union service, a fact that cannot be overlooked or ignored," Dunn added.
 
She said that, in response to the newest letter, CUNA is urging the NCUA not to undermine the ability of the vast majority of federal credit unions to continue serving associational members and to direct its examiners to act reasonably on the issue.
 
Use the resource link to read the complete NCUA letter.

Final Fixed-Assets Rule Leads NCUA Agenda

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (9/6/13)--A final version of fixed asset regulations will lead the day when the National Credit Union Administration board holds its next open board meeting on Sept. 12.

The NCUA in March proposed plain language revisions to the agency's fixed-asset rule. New definitions and rewordings were also proposed at that time.

The changes would impact NCUA's current fixed-assets rule, Section 701.36, which allows federal credit unions to purchase, hold and dispose of property necessary or incidental to their operations. These fixed assets include office buildings, branch facilities, furniture, computer hardware and software, and ATMs.

The Credit Union National Association has spoken in support of these proposed fixed-asset rule changes, noting the amendments would clarify the regulation by improving its organization, structure and ease of use. However, CUNA also urged the agency to make greater improvements to the rule.

CUNA's recommendations for improving the fixed-assets rule include:
  • Eliminating the current regulatory limit imposed on the ownership of fixed assets, which is 5% of a federal credit union's shares, since it is not required under the Federal Credit Union Act;
  • Improving the rule's definition of "partially occupy" to clear up some credit union confusion;
  • If the cap is retained, using the blanket waiver concept to give credit unions additional flexibility under the fixed-assets rule;
  • Adding an appeal process to denied fixed-asset rule waiver requests; and
  • Issuing an annual report detailing fixed-asset rule waiver-request statistics from each region.
The NCUA will also discuss a community charter expansion request filed by Peoples Advantage FCU, Chester, Va.

A proposed rule addressing charitable donation authorizations is also on the open meeting agenda. The closed portion of the agency's board meeting is set to follow the open session. NCUA supervisory activities are the lone item on that meeting agenda.

The Thursday board meetings will be the first attended by new NCUA board member Richard Metsger, who was sworn in late last month in a private ceremony on Capitol Hill.

NCUA State Map Data Show Loan, Membership Hot Spots And More

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (9/6/13)--Idaho has distinguished itself this week: The National Credit Union Administration's newest analysis of state-level data for federally insured credit unions reveals that that state's credit union membership and credit union loan totals are surging ahead of those reported by other states.

Idaho led the way in membership growth in the second quarter of 2013, with an 8.8% increase over the total reported in the second quarter of 2012. Virginia was a close second, with a 7.9% membership increase.

Overall, the analysis shows, membership in federally insured credit unions rose 2.2% to 95.2 million within the past year. However, membership increases were not universal. The NCUA state-by-state figures show declines in 11 states, the Virgin Islands and Washington, D.C.; the worst membership experience was observed in Nevada with a decline of 4.5%.

Idaho's loan growth total of 13.4% also led the nation. Oklahoma came in a close second, posting loan gains of 12.1%. In total, loan growth nationwide stood at 5.5% in the year ending in the second quarter of 2013, the NCUA said. This overall total is an increase from the 3.2% year-over-year loan increase reported in the second quarter of 2012.

All-in-all, loan growth was reported in 48 of the 54 states detailed in the NCUA report.

Again, Nevada credit unions came in last in this category, with loan growth declining by 7%. Three other states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C. also reported identical loan growth rates.

Asset growth was strongest in Utah and Washington, with annualized returns on average assets of 150 basis points and 126 bp, respectively.

The national ROAA at federally insured credit unions was 85 bp, essentially unchanged from the total reported in the second quarter of 2012. The Virgin Islands was the only jurisdiction with negative annualized ROAA, reporting a 13 bp loss, according to the agency.

Share and deposit growth and delinquency rates are also addressed in the NCUA release.

For the NCUA maps and an agency release, use the resource link.

MD/DC CUs Rally At CU House For Don't Tax Campaign

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WASHINGTON (9/6/13)--Credit unions continue to work overtime to defend their tax status, and one of the latest efforts in the ongoing "Don't Tax My Credit Union" campaign came on Thursday as credit unions from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia joined John Bratsakis, CEO of Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association, in a rally held near Capitol Hill.

Click to view larger image Attendees of Thursday's Don't Tax My Credit Union rally pose in front of Credit Union House in Washington. (CUNA Photo)
Bratsakis speaking at the rally encouraged the assembled credit unions to add their voices to the Don't Tax My Credit Union message and generate thousands of contacts next week.

The rally came just before the Credit Union National Association and credit union leagues across the country are planning to welcome back Congress on Sept. 10 with another #DontTaxTuesday promotion. Round two of the Don't Tax My Credit Union campaign will provide yet another opportunity to engage credit union staff, volunteers and members, and to let Congress and Washington know that a tax on credit unions is a tax on 96 million members, Bratsakis said. (See News Now story: New Round Of Don't Tax Advocacy To Launch Sept. 10.)

Credit unions are "of our members, by our members, we're governed by our members, and we exist to serve our members," he emphasized.

Representatives from HEW FCU, Alexandria, Va., Money One FCU, Largo, Md., and PAHO/WHO FCU, Washington, D.C., were among the more than 60 individuals at the rally, which was held at Credit Union House.