Removing Barriers Blog

Credit Unions Poised for Success
Posted November 10,2016 by Ryan Donovan

In an election that has been marked with surprises both during the primary and general elections, the American public chose Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States. 

To say the least, this was an unexpected outcome, and as a result a great deal of uncertainty exists in the days and hours following the election.  This leaves many in a situation in which the known-knowns are fewer than the known-unknowns and the unknown-unknowns.  This document tries to begin to make some sense of what happened on election night and what its impact on credit unions will be.  We have provided an analysis of the election not only on the overall results but also the key races which credit unions participated and the new credit union champions coming to Congress.  In addition, we take a look at what this means for us as we prepare to approach the new Congress and the administration, focusing on the changes we expect in key committees and the regulatory agenda of the incoming administration. 

Here’s what we know we know:  When President-elect Trump is inaugurated on January 20, 2017, it will make the first time in ten years that there is unified Republican government, with the White House, House, and Senate all under Republican control.  Further, based on our engagement with the Trump campaign over the last several months, we have confidence that the priorities of the incoming Trump Administration align pretty well with the needs of the credit union system, particularly with respect to regulatory burden.  President-elect Trump has indicated strong support for the repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act and the rolling back of overly burdensome regulations.  While a complete repeal of Dodd-Frank may prove difficult, particularly given the recent Wells Fargo scandal, we remain hopeful that the new Administration and Congress will remove some of the more oppressive regulations negatively impacting credit unions, and their members.  We will support and encourage these efforts as well as legislation to make improvements to the structure of the CFPB.

CUNA will also work with the Trump Administration to educate his team on the credit union difference and work to ensure that credit unions are part of his economic agenda.  We will also endeavor to make sure he and his administration understand the importance of nominating strong candidates for the National Credit Union Administration Board.  Credit unions deserve a world class regulator led by NCUA board members who understand and are committed to the credit union philosophy and the credit union difference. 

Having friends and champions in Congress who understand the credit union difference is important not only because so much is unknown about the administration and its priorities, but because Congress can exercise tremendous influence on credit unions’ regulatory environment.  In the first months of the new administration, the Senate will conduct countless confirmation hearings, including for positions of significance to credit unions.  This is only one way that Congress influences the administration and its regulatory priorities, but it is an important one.  As the new administration staffs up, it will promulgate new proposals, and our friends in Congress can help us favorably influence the outcome.  The good news is that credit union supporters in Congress did quite well on election night.  In fact, voters returned a credit union majority to Congress, thanks to our combined efforts. 

Through the Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC), CUNA, and leagues, credit unions invested nearly $6 million in 364 House and Senate races this year, winning an incredible 96% of them.  Champions like Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Representatives Ed Royce (R-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Peter King (R-NY), Steve Stivers (R-OH), and Denny Heck (D-WA) will all return to Congress.  And leaders on credit union issues in tight races like Representatives Rick Nolan (D-MN) and David Valadao (R-CA) won in part because of CUNA/League investments in their races.

Our participation in these races – made possible through generous contributions from credit union, league, CUNA staff, and credit union volunteers – helps to position us well in what is unquestionably a challenging legislative environment.

When we go into the voting booth, we may be Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens or Independents.  But when we advocate for credit unions, we are part of the credit union party.  The good news is that headed into the 115th Congress, there is a credit union majority in Congress.  

Read our full election analysis here.