‘If You’re Not at the Table You’re on the Menu’

CUNA pushes CU agenda despite gridlock in Washington.

October 26, 2012
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The gridlock in Washington, D.C., continues, says Ryan Donovan, CUNA's senior vice president, legislative affairs. But that doesn't mean CUNA will stop promoting credit union-friendly legislation.

“We have to find ways to maneuver through this,” Donovan told attendees of CUNA’s Community Credit Union & Growth Conference in Denver.

How? According to Donovan, it’s with “boots on the ground.” During this time of gridlock—a period when the Senate Banking Committee has reported out only four bills in the past 18 months—CUNA has met with hundreds of Capitol Hill staff and legislators.

As a result, Congress seeks CUNA’s voice at hearings on a wide range of issues. “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu,” Donovan says.

Preserving credit unions’ tax-exempt status is among CUNA’s top legislative accomplishments, Donovan says. “But that remains under threat in the foreseeable future.”

He also noted CUNA’s success in increasing the interchange fee cap from 12 cents in the proposed rule to 21 cents in the final rule, and raising the Federal Reserve’s awareness of how small issuers are treated as the interchange law unfolds.

Donovan described a “crisis of creeping complexity,” in which credit unions’ regulatory burden is ever-increasing. And he still expects a lame-duck vote to increase credit unions’ member business lending [MBL] cap.

CUNA is preparing for a significant grassroots push on MBL, including a national Hike the Hill event at the end of November.

Reducing credit unions' regulatory burden is the No. 1 priority of CUNA's regulatory advocacy team, says Mary Dunn, CUNA’s senior vice president, regulatory advocacy, and deputy general counsel.

So far, CUNA has filed 75 comment letters to federal agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and NCUA—a record pace—in addition to daily contact and face-to-face meetings with these agencies.

Dunn advised attendees to visit CUNA’s website to stay on top of regulatory developments.

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