Spring Hike the Hill Attendees Drive Home Regulatory Priorities

Last week, credit union advocates from across the GoWest region were in our Nation’s Capital for the Spring Hike the Hill. This Hike was an even mixture between advocating the regulatory landscape at a time when credit unions are engaged in burdensome rulemaking challenges and continuing our advocacy messaging on Capitol Hill. Conversations with our regulators were heavily focused on the importance of a balanced regulatory environment that allows credit unions to continue providing a viable not-for-profit financial services alternative in local communities.

The group split time between attending the monthly NCUA Board meeting and conversations with Board Members Kyle Hauptman and Tanya Otsuka, meetings with staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and visits to over 30 GoWest congressional offices reiterating the importance of credit unions and their policy priorities.

“These smaller more intimate conversations during our Hike the Hills provide a real opportunity to have more in-depth policy discussions in both the regulatory and legislative spaces,” said Ryan Fitzgerald, SVP of Advocacy for GoWest. “Our credit union leaders made an impact in these meetings and will see policy determinations result from our collective discussions.”

Urging the NCUA to support Credit Union Interests

The NCUA is asking Congress to allow Corporate Credit Unions to subscribe to the Central Liquidity Facility (CLF) for a subset of its members. Credit unions noted their appreciation of the NCUA’s foresight into making the CLF more accessible and membership more advantageous but also shared their belief that more needs to be done to make the CLF a functioning liquidity facility.

Additionally, advocates stressed the desire for the agency to provide greater investment authority, specifically pushing for equity investment authority beyond CUSOs. They also asked for consideration to increase the Loan Interest Rate Ceiling to 21%. Credit unions engaged in conversation around policies that allow loan-to-share ratios in excess of 100% and the NCUA’s threshold for maximum percentages amid their concerns about liquidity risk.

Common Interest Message at CFPB

In their discussion with leadership at the CFPB, credit unions reminded them that they are relationally focused entities that also care about the ways our members are protected as consumers. They noted that credit unions fight for many of the same things as the CFPB, like access to financial literacy, safe and secure banking and financial wellbeing for underserved and vulnerable communities.

Much of the discussion focused on mortgage related issues with advocates indicating that the Mortgage Servicing Rules that were in place during the COVID 19 Pandemic benefitted members allowing millions of members to stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure. Credit union leaders indicated that these rules should be made permanent. In addition, credit union leaders asked about potential changes to the mortgage closing process and indicated that the changes that were needed are not on the lender side but other mortgage market participants.

Beating the drum on Capitol Hill

The credit union difference is always the main message in congressional offices, and advocates used their time to bring attention to the critical themes of importance to credit unions.

  • Protect the Credit Union Tax Status. Credit unions will always keep this message at the top of our list.
  • Credit Unions’ Ability to Serve their Members & Communities. Credit unions want to partner with our Members of Congress to help find solutions to issues that are critical to the future of our nation.
  • Establish a National Data Privacy / Data Protection Standard. Credit unions have been calling on Congress, over the past several years, to establish a strong, national data protection, data security, and consumer notification standard, which is critical to the future security of our nation as well as to the protection of consumers’ individual data.
  • Pass SAFE or SAFER Banking in the 118th Congress. Voters in a growing number of states have chosen to legalize the use of marijuana. Credit unions continue to urge Congress to take steps to ensure the public safety of legal cannabis-based businesses and provide access to financial services for those states that have made that determination.
  • Expanding Opportunities for Credit Unions to Serve Consumers. Advocates asked lawmakers to support legislation and policies that update the Federal Credit Union Act to allow operational flexibility for credit unions to offer the products and services to meet member needs in the transforming financial services landscape.

“While it’s challenging for leaders to take time away from their credit unions to attend events like the Spring Hike, the value of their engagement is critical to the successful advocacy efforts that help protect the operating environment for our movement,” Jennifer Wagner, GoWest’s EVP & Chief Advocacy Officer said. “We deeply appreciate their commitment to advocating on behalf of their members, and the members of all credit unions.”








Posted in Advocacy on the Move, Federal Advocacy.