Removing Barriers Blog

Keeping member credit unions and leagues current on what and why we are doing for advocacy efforts including legislative, regulatory and state governmental affairs.
Posted January 31, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The House of Representatives will consider H.R. 447, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021. The Senate will consider the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to be Secretary  of Homeland Security. In addition, Congress may consider a budget resolution as a means to pass economic stimulus legislation through the Congressional reconciliation process.

Posted January 29, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to Senate Banking Committee leadership prior to the nomination hearing of Representative Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) to be Secretary of the Department of Urban Development. CUNA historically does not endorse presidential nominees.

“Spurred by the historic lows in interest rates, credit unions have continued to punch above their weight by providing a record-breaking number of mortgage loans,” the letter says. “These numbers include loan refinances that are reducing members’ monthly mortgage bills and purchase money mortgages as credit unions continue their mission of providing credit access to members who may not be able to receive financing from banks or other lenders.

“Credit unions are also continuing their historic role in financial education, informing members of significant mortgage relief available to those negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis,” it adds.

Posted January 29, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to Congressional leaders on both sides of the Capitol outlining several priorities for the new Congress. CUNA wrote a similar letter to the Biden administration prior to last week’s inauguration.

“As we look at the issuing facing our country and the 117th Congress, we will work to advance policy that furthers credit unions’ mission and enables them to continue the work of improving their members’ financial well-being and advancing the communities they serve,” the letter reads. “And, we will strongly resist proposals that would impair the same.”

Posted January 28, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

Acting CFPB Director Dave Uejio posted a message on the CFPB blog today. The White House announced last week that President Biden had appointed Uejio to serve as Acting CFPB Director until the confirmation of a permanent Director to lead the Bureau. 

In his post, Uejio said he will be reversing the CFPB’s policy on routine MLA exams and rescinding “public statements conveying a relaxed approach to enforcement.” Uejio also said his priorities as Acting Director will be “(1) relief for consumers facing hardship due to COVID-19 and the related economic crisis, and (2) racial equity.”

Posted January 28, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA President & CEO Jim Nussle sent a letter congratulating NCUA Chairman Harper on his new position and offering thoughts on several important policy issues.

CUNA reiterated our call for the NCUA to follow the lead of the banking regulators and allow credit unions to use asset size data from 2019 for purposes of determining applicability of certain asset-based regulatory thresholds through the remainder of 2021.

In addition, we urged the agency to proceed with future and pending rulemakings aimed at aiding credit unions during the pandemic.

Posted January 26, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

We filed a comment letter in support of the NCUA’s proposed rulemaking on Capitalization of Interest in Connection with Loan Workouts and Modifications. Since 2012, credit unions have expressly been prohibited from capitalizing interest.

We support the proposal to allow for the capitalization of interest, which would provide a more consumer-friendly option where none currently exists. We expect credit unions will likely utilize this tool as a way to help struggling borrowers.

Posted January 24, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The House of Representatives will meet not have any floor votes but instead will hold a committee work week.

The Senate will consider the confirmation of Janet Yellen to be Secretary of the Treasury. In addition, the Senate will receive an Article of Impeachment against Donald J. Trump from the House.

Posted January 22, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA responded to the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) proposal on acceptance of private flood insurance for FHA-insured mortgages. The proposal would allow owners the option to purchase private flood insurance on FHA-insured mortgages for properties located in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs).

FHA's current rules do not permit private flood insurance as an option to satisfy the mandatory purchase requirement under the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973. Currently, owners must obtain and maintain National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood insurance during such a time as the mortgage is insured.

“We believe that allowing a private flood insurance option for FHA-insured mortgages located in SFHAs would ensure owners have access to flood insurance during potential lapses in the NFIP, expand the availability of lower cost alternatives to the NFIP, and potentially reduce the waiting periods associated with the processing of new originations,” the letter reads.

Posted January 19, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA submitted comments regarding the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program. The letter was in response to a USDA proposal that would mandate use of certain underwriting and closing systems for the program. 

Specifically, it proposes to eliminate inefficiencies by mandating the use of the Guaranteed Underwriting System (GUS) and Lender Loan Closing System (LLCS) for applications and loan closing files, including for conditional commitments and loan guarantees.

It also proposal also defines two types of loans that will remain subject to manual underwriting, including streamlined-assist refinance transactions and loans downgraded in the agency’s automated origination.

Posted January 19, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to President-elect Biden urging the new administration to consider the impact any policy changes will have on credit unions’ ability to serve their members. CUNA’s recommendations include continued actions from NCUA and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), as well as recommendations in the housing and diversity, equity, and inclusion arena.

“CUNA strongly encourages this new administration to support and implement further COVID-recovery legislation and policies in 2021 and beyond to ensure credit unions remain in a position to serve their members throughout and after the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter reads.

Posted January 15, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

How May I Direct My Call? 

Getting Through to Credit Union Members in the Age of Call Blocking

We have all seen old-timey pictures of rows and rows of telephone operators sitting in front of banks of seemingly chaotic, thick wires and somehow effortlessly connecting people by simply unplugging them and plugging them back in with just the right sequence. We take it for granted that the primary job of telephone companies is ensuring callers get through to the person being called. Not anymore. More and more, telephone companies are being tasked with policing their networks to stop “unwanted” or illegal robocalls. Although this is a laudable goal, the methods being used are imperfect and many legitimate calls from legitimate operations, including credit unions, are either getting blocked or are mistakenly being labeled as “spam,” or “scam” calls.

It is important to note, at the outset, that CUNA fully supports efforts to stop illegal robocalls.  At the same time, we have worked tirelessly with regulators to minimize the possibility that legitimate calls get blocked or, if they do get blocked, to ensure that callers have redress mechanisms to get the calls unblocked as quickly as possible. Although CUNA and its trade association allies have made progress on this front, the possibility that legitimate calls will continue to be blocked or mislabeled cannot be ignored.

This blog post is designed to help you understand this new regulatory framework, and to encourage you to take 5 simple steps to maximize the chances that your calls go through so your members continue to receive the exceptional customer service they have come to expect from their credit union.  

Posted January 15, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The Bureau has issued a small entity compliance guide summarizing the October 2020 Debt Collection Rule. The guide is available here

The small entity compliance guide includes a detailed summary of the Rule’s substantive prohibitions and requirements, including those that generally restate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act’s (FDCPA) prohibitions and requirements. Section 2 of the guide provides a summary that highlights the Rule’s key interpretations and clarifications of the FDCPA.

The Rule is effective November 30, 2021.

Posted January 14, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The Board was briefed on the ACCESS (Advancing Communities through Credit, Education, Stability & Support) Initiative, which was first announced by Chairman Hood last October. ACCESS is intended to bring together agency leaders to develop policies and programs that support financial inclusion within the NCUA and more broadly, throughout the credit union system. ACCESS will expand existing efforts to address the financial services and financial literacy needs of underserved and diverse communities, as well as expand opportunities for employment.

Posted January 13, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The CFPB issued guidance (the Statement) for financial institutions that serve limited English proficiency (LEP) consumers and members. The statement includes guidance on how financial institutions can serve LEP consumers in non-English languages, in a manner that is beneficial to consumers and that is in compliance with relevant statutes and regulations.

Specifically, the statement covers principles to inform and guide financial institutions in their decision-making related to serving LEP consumers, and key considerations institutions can use to develop compliance solutions for providing products and services in non-English languages to LEP consumers.

Posted January 11, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy
The CFPB announced it will begin accepting applications on Monday, January 11, for membership to all four of its advisory committees.  The application window will be open for 45 days, until February 24.
Posted January 08, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

Submissions for the 2020 Credit Union Diversity Self-Assessment (CUDSA) are due by Friday, January 15.  

Posted January 08, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

Small Business Administration (SBA) and Treasury Department will present an overview of the new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) features associated with the recently passed Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits, and Venues Act. 

This webinar will take place on Monday, Jan. 11, at 2 p.m. (ET) and registration is now open.

Posted January 08, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

From CUNA's Compliance Blog

NCUA recently issued two letters to federal credit unions, #21-FCU-01 and #21-FCU-02.  NCUA Letter to Federal Credit Unions #21-FCU-01 pertains to community charter conversions and expansions and replaces previously issued guidance from 2011.  In addition, it provides links to templates to be used when applying for a community charter conversion or expansion (business and marketing plans and the pro forma financial statements).  

Posted January 07, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The National Credit Union Administration released it's January Board meeting agenda.  The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 14th at 10:00 AM ET.  The NCUA board will propose a risk-based net worth rule to raise the asset threshold for defining a credit union as complex, among other items. The board will also hear a briefing on the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, a summary of which the agency recently released.

Posted January 06, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA's Chief Advocacy Officer wrote to all members of the 117th Congress.  The email continued to remind Congress that America’s credit unions are committed to advancing the communities they serve and improving members’ financial well-being.

Posted January 06, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

NCUA has issued a request for information on the agency’s communication methods to promote efficiency and increase transparency. 

Specifically, the request for information seeks public input on how the agency can maximize efficiency and minimize burdens associated with obtaining information on federal laws, regulations, policies, guidance, and other materials relevant to federally insured credit unions. It contains questions about the effectiveness of press releases, social media content, and the timing and frequency of agency communications. There are also questions related to improving the agency’s websites, online data resources, and the delivery and format of supervisory guidance.

Posted January 05, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

In a letter sent to the CFPB in response to a proposal to codify a joint interagency statement on the role of guidance, CUNA wrote that it is critical for federal regulators, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), to appreciate the significant differences in the appropriate role of regulations and of guidance.  The letter follows a similar communication sent to NCUA last month. 

“We appreciate the role of supervisory guidance and support the proposal to codify the 2018 Statement,” the letter reads. “Doing so not only ensures credit unions understand where an examiner is basing its decisions, but also ensures the basis for such decisions is well-founded, given statutes must go through the legislative process and regulations through the rulemaking process under the Administrative Procedure Act.”

Posted January 04, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA submitted comments to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) regarding their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on information collection and reporting requirements for certain transactions involving Convertible Virtual Currency (CVC) or Legal Tender Digital Assets (LTDA).

Specifically, this proposed rule would require compliance with recordkeeping and reporting requirements for certain suspect deposits, withdrawals, exchanges, or other payments or transfers of CVC or LTDA by, through, or to a bank or money service business that involve an “unhosted” wallet (a cybercurrency wallet that is not hosted by a third-party financial system) or an “otherwise covered wallet,” (a hosted wallet located in a jurisdiction designated by FinCEN as having anti-money laundering compliance problems, such as North Korea and Iran).  By in large, the recordkeeping requirements for these CVC and LTDA transactions are similar to existing rules for wire transfers over $3,000.  Similarly, the reporting requirements are similar to the Currency Transaction Report (CTR) rules in place for currency withdrawls over $10,000.

Posted January 04, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The FCC completed its The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED Act)-mandated review of certain regulations and regulatory exemptions adopted to implement the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s (TCPA) prohibitions and limitations on robocalls.  The Commission’s order reflects a number of victories for positions CUNA advocated for, both on its own and in coalition with other trade associations, including: 

  • Retention of and codification of exemptions for financial institution calls to a wireless number, including calls regarding fraudulent transactions, security data breaches, and identity theft;
  • Adoption of a requirement that voice service providers that block calls must immediately notify callers of such blocking; and
  • Adoption of a requirement that voice service providers respond to blocking disputes through an established point of contact by providing a status update within 24 hours.

Posted December 28, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

We filed a comment letter in support of proposed changes to the NCUA’s Derivatives rule intended to modernize and make it more principles-based. We agree with the agency that the proposal retains key safety and soundness components, while providing more flexibility for FCUs to manage their interest rate risk through the use of Derivatives. Specifically, the proposal would eliminate some of the existing prescriptive requirements in the Derivatives rule, including removal of the application process for FCUs with at least $500 million in assets that have a CAMEL rating of 1 or 2.