Last week credit union advocates traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress at the Hike the Hill. This Hike provided a well-timed opportunity to discuss the issues presently in play with federal legislators and key staff, share what makes the industry unique, and meet with NCUA to promote common-sense regulation. Georgia was not alone – the credit unions from the three-state footprint of LSCU were in D.C. at the same time to combine forces on the Hill.
Not familiar with Hike the Hill? This event involves traveling to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to speak directly with members of Congress and their key staff … and is the window to help illustrate the positive impact of the industry. And sharing why credit unions are important, why they are different and how they are structured as not-for-profit cooperatives is an important effort for the success of the entire industry. These meetings also provided a window to engage and educate Congress on the credit union income tax exemption, and how it is critical for enabling credit unions to put members first, as the tax benefit goes back to the member. In addition to sharing insight on the industry, the meetings highlighted several legislative issues including:
- Data security standards and consumer privacy,
- Removing the hurdles in place to provide safe access of financial services to the cannabis-related industry,
- Potential changes that would provide NCUA direct supervisory authority over third-party vendors and credit union service organizations, and
- Efforts to increase the residential real estate appraisal threshold.
Want more details? Additional information on the above issues can be found in a four-part series of the LSCU Today emails.
Prior to the Hill visits with members of Congress, the credit unions met with NCUA at its headquarters to reinforce what is needed from the federal regulators so that credit unions can better serve their members. The group urged the agency to look into several areas so as to ensure credit union access for members; some of these issues were:
- Expressing support for the proposed delay of the NCUA Risk Based Capital rule so that it could be further evaluated,
- A discussion into examination cycles, efficiencies, cybersecurity and consistencies in exam process,
- Urging NCUA to provide credit unions more guidance and resources on the current expected credit losses (CECL) standards (and what these standards will mean for members), and
- What (if anything) NCUA can do to assist with the ADA website accessibility lawsuits regarding the non-standard standards.
Engaging with federal legislators and regulators is key to the future success of all credit unions; it is imperative that the industry advocates for the issues that impact the ability of credit unions to operate and help people afford life. Georgia credit unions have consistently met with their members of Congress each fall at these Hikes, and their efforts are vital in pursuing issues for the industry and pursuing clear passage for the legislative and regulatory issues of importance. Our thanks to this year’s Hike team from Associated CU, CORE CU, Delta Community CU, Family First CU, Georgia United CU, Georgia’s Own CU, Go Energy Financial CU, Kinetic CU, LGE Community CU, North Georgia CU, North Main CU, Peach State FCU, Robins Financial CU and United Methodist Connectional FCU for taking the time to travel to D.C. to educate Congress on credit unions and continue the efforts for advocacy successes.