Removing Barriers Blog

Recent Advocacy Accomplishments Provide an Opportunity to Celebrate Progress and a Reminder that Advocacy is a Long Game
Posted June 27, 2016 by CUNA Advocacy

I am surprised that the reaction some have when good things happen for credit unions in the public policy space is often times devoid of recognition that success has been achieved as a result of our combined advocacy efforts.  Over the last few months, a number of really positive things have happened as a result of years of advocacy work on the part of CUNA, the Leagues and credit unions.  We all should celebrate these victories!

For the first time, NCUA published and opened for comment the methodology for the overhead transfer rate.  This is something that we’ve been pushing the agency to do for years, and now we have a better understanding about how the agency determines what funds will be transferred from the insurance fund to the operating funds, and we have a voice to influence that decision in a way we never had before.

Examination fairness and frequency has been a top priority for credit union advocates for years.  We’ve worked to raise awareness of our concerns in Congress by encouraging support for legislation that would bring fairness to the supervisory process.  In response to our work, NCUA has made major steps in the right direction to take a comprehensive approach to modernizing the supervisory process.  They’ve reached out to the credit union system to ensure they have the information they need to modernize the call report, improve examination efficiency, and reduce examination frequency.  This is all good news for credit unions and a direct result of everyone's years of work on this issue.

Likewise, our efforts to bring about transparency in the NCUA budget process continues to yield results.  Last year, we secured the first oversight hearing on the NCUA in the House Financial Services Committee in years.  In recent weeks, NCUA Chairman Metsger announced there will be a board briefing on the NCUA budget at the October board meeting, and that CUNA and other stakeholders will be invited to participate.

Regulatory burden remains a top concern for credit unions and a top advocacy priority for CUNA and the Leagues.  Earlier this year, we did something that, frankly, is unheard of:  CUNA, the Leagues and credit unions united 329 Members of the House of Representatives on a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) encouraging it to use its statutory exemption authority to minimize the adverse impact of its rulemakings on credit unions.  To give you a sense of how significant this was, consider that perhaps the only other issues that invoke more partisan divisiveness than the CFPB are Obamacare and guns.  So, bringing together majorities of both the Democratic Caucus and the Republican Conference on a CFPB matter is quite an accomplishment.  And, it has already produced a positive result:  when the CFPB released its payday lending proposal earlier this month, the CFPB used its authority for credit unions for the first time.  We still have work to do to make that proposal palatable, but getting the CFPB to recognize it has this authority is an accomplishment that we should all be proud of.

The legislative and regulatory process are top of mind when one thinks about advocacy, but CUNA and the Leagues also advocate on behalf of credit unions in the courts.  In the past few months, we prevailed in an interchange surcharging lawsuit in Texas and we secured a ruling affirming our standing in the class action lawsuit against Home Depot.  These successes make us more inclined to look at ways in which legal advocacy might help advance our public policy goals, opening a new front in our battle to improve the operating environment for credit unions to serve their members.

The progress we’ve made on these issues and others, like the new member business lending regulation and the pending field of membership regulation is a reminder not only that we can positively impact public policy, but also that it is critically important that we stay engaged in what can often be a long and frustrating policy development process.  Advocacy is a marathon, not a sprint.  Thanks to your help over the years, CUNA, the Leagues and credit unions are leading way!

--Ryan Donovan