December has already been an intense month on a federal level … in Georgia we’ve seen the appointment of Atlanta businesswoman Kelly Loeffler to fill the reminder of the term of U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R), who is retiring at the end of December, and the December 5th news that the senior ranking U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-14) will not seek re-election in 2020. This adds to the earlier news of 2019 that U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (R-7) has decided not to run again as well (and that district is already heavy with campaign activity with multiple candidates in both parties!).
With only 16 federal legislators from Georgia, having at a minimum three new faces in 2020 drives home two important aspects of credit union advocacy: developing personal relationships with elected officials and growing the understanding of what makes credit unions unique to all legislators. Credit unions across Georgia focus on this for good reason – in Washington, D.C. there are countless issues that are addressed that can impact how you serve your members, how the products work, and if you can even exist! And December has been an intense month of legislative activity, beyond the soon-to-be-changing people in the legislative roles. Just this week alone we have seen several issues of note, with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) finalized without the language CUNA and credit unions had been lobbying to exclude, and the House Financial Services Committee addressed multiple bills of industry interest on the 11th:
- The Self-Employed Mortgage Access Act (H.R. 2445), which would expand homeownership opportunities for self-employed consumers by allowing financial institutions to rely on standards other than Appendix Q to verify a consumer’s income.
- Cybersecurity Disclosure Act of 2019 (H.R. 1731);
- Private Loan Disability Discharge Act of 2019 (H.R. 4545);
- Fair Student Loan Debt Collection Practices Act (H.R. 5287);
- Student Borrowers Protections Act (H.R. 5294);
- Protecting Your Credit Score Act of 2019 (H.R. 5332);
- Consumer Protections for Medical Debt Collections Act (H.R. 5330);
- Ensuring Diversity in Community Banking Act of 2019 (H.R. 5322); and
- Expanding Opportunities for Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) Act (H.R. 5315).
Stay tuned for these issues and more as they take shape. CUNA and the Leagues will stay engaged in this hectic period to promote and protect credit unions as things will likely continue to change rapidly!