On May 4th Georgia credit unions joined the discussion to help shape legislative initiatives on the federal level in a unique manner as a part of U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter’s (R-1) Financial Services Advisory Council. This council was organized by the Congressman to help gain further insight into the financial industry issues being addressed in Washington, D.C., and provided an ideal window for Georgia Heritage FCU, GeoVista CU and Memorial Health CU to urge the Congressman for his support of regulatory relief in S. 2155. The legislation is now with the U.S. House of Representatives, and its passage would mean the process of getting mortgage loans from credit unions would be easier and more straightforward for consumers. Other benefits to S. 2155 is that it would adjust thresholds that ensure lending regulations intended to rein in Wall Street banks do the job without overburdening Main Street credit unions and small banks – and change how credit unions designate certain apartment loans, freeing up capital for additional small business lending. In addition, it would provide important safeguards against elder abuse, giving greater protections to some of the most vulnerable consumers of financial services.
Thanks to the constant work of credit unions, shortly after this meeting was held it was made known this week that S. 2155 should be addressed in the full House for a vote hopefully later this month! Thank you to these three credit unions for educating Rep. Carter on the bill, thank you to all the credit unions who attended the GAC Hike the Hill this year to urge Congress to act on this bill, and thank you to all the credit unions that sent messages to their members of the U.S. House to ask for their support. You can do so here and help urge the U.S. House to pass S. 2155.
Other issues addressed by the Advisory Council included the need for merchant data breach standards on a federal level, reform of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to create positive regulatory relief for credit unions, and the important need for the federal government to address the ADA/website accessibility lawsuits and demand letters. The credit unions shared with the Congressman and his staff that over 1,000 credit unions nationwide have received demand letters claiming ADA violations due to website accessibility issues, with over 50 lawsuits having been filed against credit unions as of press time. And while 10 of these lawsuits have been dismissed, the issue is one that takes away time, money and resources from helping members. Thank you to Georgia Heritage FCU, GeoVista CU and Memorial Health CU for representing all credit unions on this council.
In addition, on May 2nd GeoVista CU participated in Effingham County’s legislative eggs and issues review breakfast, hearing from State Senator Lester Jackson (D-Savannah), State Senator Jack Hill (R-Reidsville), and State Representative and Majority Leader Jon Burns (R-Newington). Thank you to GeoVista CU for reaching out to their elected leaders to thank them for all of their efforts in the state legislative session. If your credit union is engaging locally with your state or federal legislators, please let us know.