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 December 19, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The Senate just passed the second appropriations bill.  The first one (that included the tax provisions and the NFIP extension) cleared the Senate earlier today.  The president has indicated that he will sign both bills.

Earlier this week, CUNA wrote to Congressional Leadership urging them to support H.R. 1158, the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2020 and H.R. 1865, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2020. CUNA worked with House and Senate appropriators to fund several priorities for credit unions that are included in this legislation

Posted December 18, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

 CUNA wrote to Majority Leader McConnell, Democratic Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and Republican Leader McCarthy urging them to support H.R. 1158, the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2020 and H.R. 1865, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2020. CUNA worked with House and Senate appropriators to fund several priorities for credit unions that are included in this legislation. 

Posted December 18, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy
CUNA submitted a comment letter in response to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Request for Input on Pooling Practices for the Uniform Mortgage Backed Security. In the letter, CUNA indicates support for the FHFA’s proposal to require the Enterprises, Fannie
Posted December 17, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to Senator Cruz in support of his recently introduced legislation, S. 3003 - the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act.  If enacted, this bill would limit Federal banking regulators’ ability to discourage or restrict depository institutions from entering into or maintaining a financial services relationship with specific customers unless certain criteria are met.  S. 3003 strikes the correct balance between combating fraud and maintaining financial institution integrity.

“While we strongly support the government’s role in ensuring the integrity of financial markets and eliminating fraud, the Operation Choke Point program’s broad enforcement tactics may have created unnecessary risks to consumers and to the economy,” the letter reads. “Credit unions are committed to maintaining the ability to serve their members while strictly following all laws and governing regulations. S. 3003 is a reasonable approach to preventing fraud and maintaining financial integrity without overreaching.”

Posted December 17, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy
The Senate just passed NDAA by a vote of 86-8.  Last week the House passed the legislation by a vote of 377-48.  Earlier in the week, the Conference Committee released the final version of the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) without a provision that would have allowed certain banks to obtain cost waivers to operate on military installations. 


Posted December 16, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy
This week, the House of Representatives and the Senate are considering a budget deal to avoid another government shutdown, as well as fund the federal government through the end of fiscal year 2020 (September 30, 2020).  It is likely that both houses of Congress will pass the compromise legislation and that the president will sign it into law by the deadline of midnight Friday (when current government funding authority expires).


Posted December 16, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The NCUA, OCC, FRB, and FDIC have proposed two documents intended to update existing regulatory accounting guidance in light of FASB’s credit losses standard, which includes the current expected credit loss (CECL) methodology.

Proposed Interagency Guidance on Credit Risk Review Systems: This proposed guidance describes the elements of a credit risk review system that should be reviewed and approved by an institution’s board of directors (or appropriate board committee) at least annually. In general, we believe the proposed guidance describes a broad set of practices that an institution—including most credit unions—can use to form a credit risk review system that is consistent with safe-and-sound lending practices. Further, we believe the proposed guidance generally reflects current sound practices for an institution’s credit risk review activities.

Proposed Interagency Policy Statement on Allowances for Credit Losses: This proposed statement addresses: supervisory expectations for documenting and validating expected credit loss estimation processes; responsibilities of boards of directors and management; and examiner reviews of allowances for credit losses. In general, the proposed statement appears reasonable and seems to comport with CECL.


Posted December 16, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in a case considering the constitutionality of the CFPB’s single-Director structure and the appropriate remedy to cure any constitutional defect. 

In its brief, CUNA agrees with Seila Law and the CFPB in arguing that the Bureau’s current structure does not pass constitutional scrutiny and violates the separation of powers. CUNA argues that the creation of a multi-member leadership commission would remedy the defect while preserving the consumer protection benefits of the agency. To achieve this, CUNA encourages the Court to hold Title X unconstitutional but stay the effect of that decision to allow the political branches time to enact such a commission structure to lead the Bureau.


Posted December 15, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

This week, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on two articles of impeachment against President Trump.  In addition, the House may vote on passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) as well as H.R. 5377, the Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act.  The House may also vote on a bill to fund the government through the end of Fiscal Year 2020. 

The Senate is expected to vote on the FY 2020 funding bill after it is passed by the House.  Also, the Senate is also expected to vote on the conference agreement to S. 1790, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019. 

The federal government runs out of spending authority at midnight on December 20, 2019.  It is possible that the House will consider two bills on Tuesday to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year.  It is customary for the House to make the text of these bills public 48 prior to their consideration on the House floor.  CUNA continues to advocate for full funding for credit union priorities.


Posted December 13, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA joined a number of trade associations in sending a letter to Chairman Crapo and Ranking Member Brown in support of the SAFE Banking Act.

"As a national, diverse, multi-sector collection of broad stakeholders impacted by the legal cannabis industry in the U.S., we request that you bring the SAFE Banking Act (H.R. 1595) before the Committee. As you are aware, the House of Representatives passed SAFE on September 25th with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 321 – 103. This represents the bipartisan support for the issue and the first time in history that any Congress voted on meaningful cannabis reform legislation."

Posted December 12, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy
Earlier this week, the Conference Committee released the final version of the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) without a provision that would have allowed certain banks to obtain cost waivers to operate on military installations.  The House passed the bill by a vote of 377-48.  The Senate is expected to pass the legislation next week.


Posted December 12, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied the American Bankers Association’s appeal for a rehearing en banc in its lawsuit against NCUA’s field of membership rule. CUNA filed a brief in support of NCUA in the initial hearing, and strongly supports NCUA’s field-of-membership rule.

Posted December 11, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The House Financial Services Committee held a two-day markup.  CUNA wrote to Chairwoman McWatters and Ranking Member McHenry expressing support for two bills supporting Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), both passed the Committee with strong support.

H.R. 5315, Expanding Opportunities for Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) Act
Codify the Treasury Department’s mentor protégé program to encourage collaboration between Minority Depository Institutions and large financial institutions. This program represents a valuable resource for MDI credit unions because it offers an opportunity to bolster their sustainability. The bill passed with a 57-0 vote; and

H.R. 5322, the Ensuring Diversity in Community Banking Act of 2019
Encourage federal government deposits in MDIs, establish a Small Business Administration task force focused on MDIs and CDFIs, and require diversity and inclusion reports from each prudential regulator. Minority Depository Institution credit unions represent an important way in which credit unions are fulfilling their mission by advancing financial inclusion and well-being for minority and underserved communities. The bill passed with a 52-0 vote.


Posted December 12, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to all 535 Congressional offices highlighting the credit union difference and financial health.  This holiday season, the average consumer will spend more than $1,000 on gifts and related expenses and credit unions are there to ensure consumers maintain their financial health.

Posted December 12, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The NCUA Board adopted its 2020 - 2021 budget, adopted a final rule to delay the effective date of the RBC rule, and received a briefing on the Normal Operating Level of the Share Insurance Fund for 2020.

Posted December 10, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

Last night the Conference Committee released the final version of the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) without a provision that would have allowed certain banks to obtain cost waivers to operate on military installations.

Throughout 2019, this fight to preserve the credit union difference has been a major advocacy goal for CUNA, Leagues, and credit unions. Advocates have maintained that banks — which profit off servicemembers to benefit Wall Street investors — should not be granted the same rent-free access afforded to credit unions that meet certain provisions in addition to delivering the not-for-profit mission and member-owned structure to bases at home and abroad.


Posted December 09, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA sent comments to the NCUA in response to their Chartering and Field of Membership Proposed Rule, the latest field-of-membership proposal, as it reinstates portions of the 2016 rulemaking that were vacated by a U.S. District Court decision.

The proposal would re-adopt a provision to allow an applicant to designate a Combined Statistical Area (CSA), or an individual, contiguous portion thereof, as a well-defined local community (WDLC), provided that the chosen area has a population of 2.5 million or less.


Posted December 09, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to office of the California Attorney General in regards to the proposed regulations concerning the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).  The law’s definition of “business” needs further clarification, CUNA wrote, as the definition in the bill does not address not-for-profit status.  CUNA also seeks additional guidance on the “doing business in California” requirements, as the vast majority of credit unions are outside of California and likely do not seek to serve California residents.

“Some businesses with few customers in California may elect not to serve customers who live in the state, but credit unions cannot easily do this as they, by law, cannot close member share accounts without a vote of the membership of the credit union – a process that is involved and impractical for this purpose,” the letter reads. “A company should be allowed to serve a de minimis number of California residents without meeting the “doing business in California” requirements to allow for isolated instances where a business, such as a credit union, must provide services to California residents by law, yet does not seek to market itself in California or open accounts for California residents.” 

Posted December 08, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

This week, the House of Representatives will consider H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act and H.R. 729, the Tribal Coastal Resiliency Act. 

The Senate will vote on the nomination of Patrick J. Bumatay to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit. 

Posted December 06, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

Are you members safe from Business Email Comprise scam?

Business Email Compromise (BEC) is a sophisticated scam that targets both businesses and individuals performing wire transfer payments or other means of electronic fund transfers (EFTs).

Join FS-ISAC and CUNA for a free webinar on December 17th, 2019 that will provide informative information and tips on how your credit union can safeguard members from sophisticated business email scams like this one, and others that may arise.

Posted December 05, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The NCUA released the agenda for their December Board meeting to be held on December 12th in Alexandria, VA.

MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED:

  1. NCUA’s 2020–2021 Budget.
  2. Final Rule, Part 702, Risk-based Capital.
  3. Board Briefing, 2020 Share Insurance Fund Normal Operating Level.

Posted December 05, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

During the House Financial Services Committee with prudential regulators, Chair McWilliams of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) expressed worry over the impacts of credit unions purchasing banks. In response, CUNA wrote to Chair McWilliams about how her comments were misinformed, inaccurate and, frankly, something credit unions would expect to hear from a banking lobbyist, not a banking regulator.

In the letter, CUNA wrote “While still extraordinarily rare relative to the number of bank mergers, credit union-bank transactions take place because they are good business decisions for the parties involved, as well as the consumers, small businesses and communities involved. Consumers benefit by gaining access to strong, responsible community-focused financial services. Communities benefit because credit unions provide more than $4 billion in indirect consumer benefits, especially in underserved areas that often have no other affordable option for financial services.  And, clearly, bank investors benefit, or why would the bank sell in the first place?”

Posted December 05, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The House voted to pass the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, legislation designed to combat unwanted robocalls via the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.  Specifically, the TRACED Act is a bipartisan effort to pass legislation that addresses illegal robocalls and seeks to impr

Posted December 05, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to Chairwoman Waters and Ranking Member McHenry reiterating that credit unions and the financial services industry are dedicated to protecting customer information along with working to ensure that systems used to provide financial services to Americans are robust, secure and resilient. CUNA appreciates the Committee’s strong commitment in overseeing the financial services sector and agree that cybersecurity, specifically the vulnerability of financial or institutions to cyberattacks is an important iss

Posted December 05, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

Prior to the House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on the Federal Housing Administration, CUNA wrote to Chairman Clay and Ranking Member Stivers explaining that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) plays a critical role in homeownership, yet impediments exist keeping credit unions from accessing the FHA lending program. 

“Chief among these is the absence of a FHA regulatory environment where lenders can operate with clarity and certainty regarding the program requirements and the potential penalties for noncompliance. Recently, the Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed amendments to the FHA lender annual certification statements designed to increase lender confidence. We welcome the FHA’s commitment to provide the clarity and certainty necessary to increase lender participation in the FHA program."

Posted December 05, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The House Financial Services and Senate Banking each held hearings to hear semi-annual testimony from the prudential regulators, Chairman Hood testified on behalf of the NCUA.  Prior to each hearing, CUNA wrote to the Chair and Ranking Member (HFSC and Senate Banking) highlighting positive steps by the NCUA as well as issues where improvements can be made.

Posted December 04, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

Earlier this week, CUNA wrote to Chairman Wicker and Ranking Member Cantwell prior to the Senate Commerce Committee hearing entitled, “Examining Legislative Proposals to Protect Consumer Data Privacy.”  In the letter, CUNA wrote about the concern credit unions have for Americans’ financial wellness is compromi

Posted December 04, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The Federal Reserve System will host an Outlook Live Webinar on December 12th at 2:00 p.m. E.T., featuring a discussion on Regulation E error resolution requirements. The "Outlook Live" webinar series is a Federal Reserve System initiative produced in conjunction with the Fed's Consumer Compliance Outlook newsletter.

Reg E specifies procedures that institutions must follow when investigating and resolving electronic fund transfer (EFT) errors alleged by consumers (e.g., unauthorized or incorrect EFTs). The regulation also specifies the extent to which a consumer can be held liable for unauthorized EFTs.

Posted December 03, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

In a positive development for credit unions, the Bureau issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend the Remittance Transfer Rule.   

CUNA, leagues, and credit unions have raised the need to amend the remittances rule in multiple in-person meetings with CFPB leadership in recent years. Recently, CUNA submitted a letter to the Bureau calling for the “normal course of business” threshold to be raised. 

The CFPB’s NPRM would increase the Rule’s “normal course of business” safe harbor threshold from 100 remittance transfers to 500 remittance transfers annually. According to a release, this threshold increase would “reduce burden on over 400 banks and almost 250 credit unions that send a relatively small number of remittances.”

Posted December 03, 2019 by Chandler Schuette

CUNA sent NCUA a letter detailing suggestions on how NCUA can improve its proposed budget. The letter follows CUNA Chief Economist Mike Schenk’s presentation last week to the NCUA Board regarding the proposed budget. While CUNA supports aspects of the proposed budget

Posted December 01, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

This week, the House of Representatives will consider S. 151, the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act; H.R. 2534, the Insider Trading Prohibition Act; and H.Res. 326, Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding United States efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a negotiated two-state solution. 

The Senate will consider several judicial and executive branch nominations.