Legislative & Political News

360° Advocacy Leads to Major Credit Unions Wins in 2019

2019 saw several important victories for credit unions in the legislative, regulatory and legal arenas, all victories that will help credit unions better serve the 115 million Americans who are credit union members. Throughout the year, CUNA, the state leagues and credit union members brought their issues to policymakers in face-to-face meetings, letters, social media and other forms of communications, all on behalf of the credit union difference.

Senate Banking Chair Outlines Concerns with Cannabis Banking Asks for Input

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) has requested public feedback on ways to address public health and money laundering concerns relating to cannabis banking. He also requested input on “Operation Choke Point,” an Obama-era initiative in which federal agencies devised and relied upon a list of merchant categories such as firearm manufacturers, payday lenders, etc. with the intent of “choking off” them off from access to payment systems and banking services.

Rep. Pascrell’s SALT Cap Relief Passes House

The House Thursday passed legislation to temporarily repeal the $10,000 cap on the deduction of state and local taxes (SALT) enacted as part of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017. The bipartisan measure was introduced by Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-9) and fellow House Ways & Means Committee member Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) and is based on Pascrell’s bipartisan SALT Act (H.R. 1142).

Best-selling Author Marcus Buckingham to Speak at CUNA GAC

CUNA is pleased to announce Marcus Buckingham, author of StandOut, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best seller, will speak at the 2020 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC), February 23-27 in Washington, D.C. CUNA’s GAC is the credit union system’s premier advocacy event and will be attended by more than 5,000 credit union leaders from all 50 states.

CUs Look Forward to New Year of Member Service, CUNA tells Congress

Credit unions around the country are looking ahead to the new year and how to continue investing in their communities’ success, CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan wrote to all 535 Congressional offices Tuesday. This latest communication, CUNA’s final of 2019, continues CUNA’s yearlong outreach to members of Congress highlighting the many ways credit unions make a difference in the lives of 115 million Americans each day.

Van Drew Challenge Taking Shape as Montclair State Professor and Political Pundit Secures Endorsements

Even before Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-2) cast his vote against the House’s Articles of Impeachment late Wednesday evening, or formally announced his anticipated switch to the Republican party, South Jersey Democratic leaders yesterday afternoon began lining up behind Montclair State University professor and political commentator Brigid Harrison’s candidacy to replace the freshman congressman.

Former Smith Intern Gets Monmouth County Dems’ Nod to Challenge His Re-election

A former intern for Rep. Chris Smith (R-4) has received the Monmouth County Democratic CD4 Vetting Committee’s endorsement for the nomination to challenge him next year in his bid to win a 21st term. The “dean” of New Jersey’s congressional delegation, Smith is currently the delegation’s lone Republican after Democrats captured four additional House seats in last year’s mid-term elections.

Bill Would Limit Regulators’ Ability to Restrict Financial Relationships

A Senate bill, the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act (S. 3003) strikes the correct balance between combating fraud and maintaining financial institution integrity, CUNA wrote Tuesday to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Joining Cruz as co-sponsors of the bill are Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID), John Kennedy (R-LA.), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jim Inhofe (R-OK.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Mike Braun (R-IN).

Government Funding, NDAA Votes Expected

The House today is expected to pass a bipartisan spending package to avert a government shutdown and provide funding through the rest of fiscal year 2020. Additionally, the Senate is set to vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 conference report this week which was passed by the House last week.

Rep. Pascrell’s SALT Cap Relief Gains Committee Approval

The House Ways & Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over all tax legislation, has approved bi-partisan legislation to repeal the $10,000 cap on the deduction of state and local taxes (SALT) enacted as part of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017. The bipartisan measure was introduced by Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-9) and fellow House Ways & Means Committee member Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) and is based on Pascrell’s bipartisan SALT Act (H.R. 1142).

Trades Continue Push for Senate Consideration of SAFE Banking Act

The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act is a critical first step to ensure legal cannabis marketplaces are safe, legal and transparent, CUNA and other financial services trade organizations wrote to Senate Banking Committee leadership Thursday. CUNA and the other organizations called on the Senate Banking Committee to bring up and vote on the SAFE Banking Act or similar measures.

Rep. Pascrell Introduces Deduction Cap Repeal, Rep. Sherrill Launches “12 Days of SALT”

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9), a member of the House Ways & Means Committee which has jurisdiction over all tax legislation, continued his efforts to restore the SALT deduction Wednesday by joining fellow Ways & Means member Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) to introduce the Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act (H.R. 5377), legislation repealing the cap on the deduction of state and local taxes (SALT).

Republican Mike Testa Sworn-in as State Senator

Michael J. Testa, the Republican who won a special election to fill the state Senate seat held by Democrat Jeff Van Drew before he was elected to Congress, was sworn-in as New Jersey's newest state senator last week.  He was named to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and the Senate Labor Committee.

Inconsistent Data Security Standards Put Financial Health at Risk

Credit unions are deeply concerned that Americans’ financial wellness is compromised by inconsistent privacy and security standards applied to businesses that possess, process or transport consumers’ nonpublic personal information (NPI), CUNA wrote to the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday. The committee conducted a hearing to examine legislative proposals to protect consume data, and CUNA submitted a letter for the record.

History Made as Assemblywoman Dunn Takes Oath

History was made last week when Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-19) administered the oath of office to Asw. Aura Dunn (R-25). Dunn was selected by a special convention to fill the Assembly seat vacated when Anthony M. Bucco (R-25) moved to upper chamber to fill the vacancy that resulted from his father’s (Sen. Anthony R. Bucco) unexpected passing in September.

CFPB Settles with Military Travel Lender and Servicer

The Bureau found that Easy Military Travel and Edmiston misrepresented the true cost of credit in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA). Specifically, Easy Military Travel charged a fee to consumers who obtained financing through Easy Military Travel above the fee that it charged to consumers who paid in full. Easy Military Travel failed to include that fee in the finance charge or the annual percentage rate for consumers who obtained financing, even though it was a cost of credit. Easy Military Travel representatives, at the direction of Edmiston, also quoted falsely low monthly interest rates over the telephone to consumers.

Congress Should Move Beyond GLBA to New Data-security Laws

Credit unions are deeply concerned that Americans’ financial wellness is compromised by inconsistent privacy and security standards applied to businesses that possess, process or transport consumers’ nonpublic personal information (NPI), CUNA wrote to the House Financial Services Committee Task Force on Financial Technology last week. The task force conducted a hearing on the role of “big data” in financial services, and CUNA’s letter was sent for the record.

Senate President Sweeney Opposes Public Bank Proposal

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-3) said Wednesday that he has no intention to support the public-owned state bank proposed by Governor Phil Murphy. As Senate president, he controls what bills are posted for a vote in the upper chamber rendering a bill dead on arrival without his support, or at least consent. 

Rep. Sherman Leads Bipartisan Letter on USAID Procurement Reforms

A letter composed by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and signed by nine other members of Congress from both parties urged the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to complete its procurement reform process in a manner that ensures a fair and substantial proportion of awards and contracts made by USAID are awarded to small, U.S.-based, not-for-profit, and civil-society based organizations, including credit unions. The lawmakers delivered the letter to USAID Administrator Mark Green this week.

CMG: Digital Workplace Apps Drive Engagement and Class Action Lawsuits

CUNA Mutual Group (CMG) issued a Risk Alert alerting credit unions that digital workplace apps can assist employers in facilitating engagement among employees. The apps strive to funnel employee relations and development into an accessible and efficient, single portal – providing a unique alternative to workplace productivity and employee enrichment. However, some employees have filed class action lawsuits that fall into categories like expense reimbursement, off-the-clock work, interruption of meal or rest periods, and content-based claims.

Minimum Wage-related Bills Slated for Senate Committee Consideration

Two minimum wage-related bills are scheduled for Senate Labor Committee consideration on Thursday. One would suspend or delay the minimum wage increase enacted last Spring in the event of an economic downturn. The other would create a task force to study the effect the minimum wage increase has on businesses, including their ability to hire new workers, whether they needed to cut hours or lay off workers to make ends meet, and whether they have switched to automation.

State Legislative Leadership to Remain Unchanged Following Last Weeks’ Elections

While last week’s state legislative elections offered a few surprises with Republicans picking a Senate seat and at least two Assembly seats, with two other potential pick-ups that have yet to be called officially, Thursday’s legislative leadership elections offered no such drama or surprises with both the Democratic and Republican caucuses re-electing their current leaders for the 219TH Legislature that will convene in January, Senate President Sweeney (D-3), Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-21), Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-19) and Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21).   

Temporary Spending Measure, Financial Services Markup This Week

U.S. House lawmakers are expected to begin work on a temporary spending measure this week with a goal of passing it before current government funding expires November 21. The White House said it will support a month-long extension. Appropriators are also continuing discussions on a dozen fiscal year 2020 spending bills, including the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2500; S.1790).

Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Affordable Housing Access and Safety Nov. 7

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs met Nov. 7 at 10:00 am to conduct a hearing entitled “Examining Bipartisan Bills to Promote Affordable Housing Access and Safety.” The witnesses will be: Ms. Ivory N. Mathews, Interim Executive Director, Columbia Housing; Mr. Mark J. Yost, President and CEO, Skyline Champion Corporation, on behalf of the Manufactured Housing Institute; and Ms. Peggy Bailey, Vice President for Housing Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

CFPB Director Kraninger Addresses Small Business Lending Concerns

Wednesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) held a symposium focused on Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires the bureau to collect data related to small business lending.  Bureau Director Kathy Kraninger’s remarks acknowledges these concerns as she emphasized the need to better understand small business lending.

Republicans Pick-up Seats in NJ Legislative Elections

As a result of yesterday’s elections, the Republicans will gain as many as four seats in the Assembly and one in the Senate for the 2020-2021 legislative session. Despite an expectation that Democrats would pick up a few seats, conventional wisdom that suggests the minority party generally gains seats in off-year elections prevailed.

CUs Difference is Investment in Financial Inclusion, Health, Security

One hundred and fifteen million Americans have chosen to become member-owners of a not-for-profit credit union because credit unions put members ahead of profit, CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan wrote to congressional offices Tuesday. This week’s communication is the latest in CUNA’s continued engagement with all Capitol Hill offices on the benefits of the credit union difference around the country.

Today’s Election Day, Don’t Forget to Vote!

Election DayWhile most of the country is focused on next year’s presidential election, today voters in Kentucky and Mississippi will elect governors and voters in four states will elect various state lawmakers. Louisiana has a gubernatorial run-off election on November 16.  

Rep. Pascrell Leads Bi-partisan Group Demanding Changes to National Flood Insurance Program

Last week NJ Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-9), together with House colleagues Reps. Garret Graves (R-LA), Charlie Crist (D-FL), David Rouzer (R-NC), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), and Francis Rooney (R-FL) led a letter signed by 64 members of Congress demanding affordable insurance rates in a long-term National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) reauthorization. In the letter addressed to congressional leadership, the members cite a failure to address expected NFIP premium increases under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) new methodology for assessing risk, which will become effective next year.

Final Wendy’s Settlement Approval Set for November 6

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania will hold a final approval hearing Nov. 6 for the settlement in the Wendy’s data breach lawsuit. CUNA, state leagues and a number of credit unions are among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which stems from a 2016 data breach at the restaurant chain.

Bill Would Enhance Federal Regulators’ Cybersecurity Programs

Protecting Americans’ financial and other personal information no matter what entity possesses it is of utmost importance to credit unions, CUNA wrote to House Financial Services Committee leadership Tuesday. The committee conducted a markup of several bill starting Tuesday, including the CUNA/League-supported Cybersecurity and Financial System Resilience Act of 2019 (H.R. 4458).

FHFA Releases New Strategic Plan and Scorecard for Fannie Mae and Freddie

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) yesterday released its 2019 Strategic Plan for the Conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and a new 2020 Scorecard for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Common Securitization Solutions. The Strategic Plan provides a framework for how FHFA will guide Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) to fulfill their statutory missions, focus on safety and soundness, and prepare for a responsible end to the conservatorships. The Scorecard aligns the Strategic Plan with the Enterprises’ tactical priorities and operations, serving as an essential tool to hold the Enterprises accountable for the effective implementation of the Strategic Plan. 

FHFA Director Warns of Potential Fannie/Freddie Failures Without Needed Reforms

Warning that "in their current condition, Fannie and Freddie will fail in a downturn," Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mark Calabria stressed the importance of reforming the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). Calabria said the agency will know soon whether it needs to re-propose the GSEs' capital rule, which he described as "the most important rulemaking" he will make while at the FHFA.

Secondary Mortgage Market Should Meet Needs of Smaller Lenders, CUNA Writes

CUNA and its member credit unions remain committed to working with Congress and the administration to refine and build upon housing finance reform proposals to ensure a strong and sustainable secondary mortgage market that ensures the availability of affordable housing. The House Financial Services Committee conducted a hearing Tuesday reviewing the administration’s housing finance reform plans.

Concerns with Bill Granting NCUA Third-party Vendor Authority Outlined for House Task Force

The House Financial Services Committee Taskforce on Artificial Intelligence will convene a hearing today to address the growing number of data and cybersecurity attacks targeting the financial services industry. As policymakers seek to patch several cybersecurity policy holes, CUNA anticipates that legislation will be put forth that would extend to NCUA the authority to oversee credit union service organizations (CUSOs) and other third party vendors, and expand credit unions’ ability to invest in CUSOs.

As the financial services industry becomes increasingly reliant upon third-party vendors and their service providers to provide cutting-edge digital services, Congress has become increasingly concerned that bank regulators do not have sufficient authority to supervise these vendors. Congress is further concerned that the NCUA does not currently have any authority to regulate and supervise CUSOs. 

Funding CDRLF at $2M is Critical to Credit Unions, CUNA Tells Appropriators

NCUA’s Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF) is a critically important program and should be fully funded at $2 million in fiscal year 2020, CUNA wrote to House and Senate appropriators Tuesday. The House-passed Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2020 (H.R. 3351) provides $2 million for the CDRLF, but the FSGG bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee in September does not.

CFPB Announces Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced Friday that it will establish a taskforce to examine the regulatory environment and recommend ways to improve federal consumer financial laws. The taskforce will work independently from the Bureau to conduct new research and legal analysis of consumer credit with a goal of addressing gaps, simplifying and modernizing consumer protection laws.

Call-to-Action Shifts into High Gear, Help Protect Defense Credit Unions

The CUNA/League-system Call-to-Action urging credit unions to contact their members of Congress to ensure a harmful provision is excluded from the final language of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) shifted into high gear this week with new blast emails to credit union advocates. The provision would expand to banks an exception that credit unions currently have granting rent-free access to military installations.

Senate ILLICIT CASH Act Addresses Need for BSA/AML Relief, CUNA Says

CUNA is encouraged by the Improving Laundering Laws and Increasing Comprehensive Information Tracking of Criminal Activity in Shell Holdings (ILLICIT CASH) Act (S. 2563) it wrote to the bill’s sponsors Wednesday. CUNA wrote a letter of support Wednesday to bill sponsors Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA), Tom Cotton (R-AK), Doug Jones (D-AL), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), John Kennedy (R-LA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Jerry Moran (R-KS).

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Data Security Call-to-Action Continues

Most us remember from our school days that every October is National Fire Prevention Month, the time for an annual nationwide campaign to increase awareness of how to protect ourselves from fire. Fast forward to the internet age and October now has the added designation as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a time to promote the importance of cybersecurity and protecting ourselves against online privacy attacks and data breaches.

Congressman Kim Confirmed for Advocacy Appreciation Reception at NJCUL Convention

Congressman Andy Kim (D-3) will be this year’s Special Guest of Honor at the NJCUL’s 4th Annual Advocacy Appreciation Reception during the League’s 85th Annual Meeting & Convention later this month in Atlantic City. The complimentary reception is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, October 20 from 2:00 to 3:00pm and is open to all convention registrants.

Bipartisan BSA/AML Bill Introduced in Senate

A bipartisan group of Senate Banking Committee members, four from each side of the aisle, last week introduced the Illicit Cash Act (S.2563) to require companies to register their owners with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and modernize and improve Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) efforts. 

CUNA Participates in SAFE Banking Act Recognition, Attention Now Turns to Senate

CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle and Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan joined Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), co-sponsors of the CUNA-backed Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595), at the U.S. Capitol Thursday to recognize the historic vote on the bill. The House passed the bill with a bipartisan 321-103 vote.

Call-to-Action to Protect Defense Credit Unions’ On-base Facilities Continues

The CUNA/League-system Call-to-Action urging credit unions to contact their members of Congress to ensure a harmful provision is excluded from the final language of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) continues. The provision would expand to certain banks an exception that credit unions currently have granting rent-free access to military installations.

Senate Passes Continuing Resolution Bill to Fund Federal Government through Nov. 21

Thursday, the Senate passed the continuing resolution bill to fund the government through Nov. 21, a move that follows last week’s House passage of the bill. The bill maintains funding levels for fiscal year 2019 for several credit union-related funds, including the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, NCUA’s Community Development Revolving Loan Fund and the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) and 504 loan programs.  The bill also continues funding for the National Flood Insurance Program through Nov. 21.

Bureau Publishes Four FAQs on the SAFE Act

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has published 4 FAQs on the SAFE Act and the impact of the amendments to the SAFE Act made by § 106 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. The questions and answers pertain to compliance with the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (SAFE Act) as of November 24, 2019, the effective date of the 2018 amendments to the statute.  

FTC Testifies before House Appropriations Subcommittee on Work Efforts

Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) testified before House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Agency’s work to Protect Consumers and Promote Competition. In testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, the FTC described its work to protect consumers and promote competition through vigorous enforcement, education, advocacy, and policy work, and by anticipating and responding to changes in the marketplace.

CMG Risk Alert: Settlement Message on Collection Notices

CUNA Mutual Group (CMG) issued a Risk Alert that shared information on a settlement in a United States District Court, District of Massachusetts ruling against American Honda Finance, Corp. that resulted in approximately $1.9 million for class members and attorney fees along with $20 million of eliminated deficiency loan balances.

Financial Trade Groups Urge House to Pass the Safe Banking Act

The SAFE Banking Act (H.R. 1595) Act is expected to be considered by the House this week. Four financial trade associations urged lawmakers to pass the bill, which would allow depository institutions to serve the needs of customers in states where cannabis is legal.

‌“The SAFE Banking Act of 2019 provides a mechanism for the cannabis industry and its service providers to deposit their cash in regulated financial institutions, which allows our members to meet the needs of their communities and helps those communities reduce cash-motivated crimes, increase the efficiency of tax collections and improve the financial transparency of the cannabis industry,” the groups wrote.

The bill was introduced by Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), Denny Heck (D-Wash.) and Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), the bipartisan bill is supported by more than 200 cosponsors.

The financial trade groups signing the letter were the Credit Union National Association, American Bankers Association, Independent Community Bankers of America, and National Bankers Association.

Click here to read the letter. 


Conference Committee to Begin Work on NDAA

The conference committee established to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (NDAA) is set to hold its first meeting today. CUNA and the state leagues will continue work to oppose a provision (Section 2821) in the Senate’s version (S.1790)  of the bill that would treat big banks the same as local, not-for-profit credit unions when it comes to nominal leases on military bases.

Limiting Arbitration Impairs CUs’ Ability to Solve Member Disputes

Credit unions have a proven track record of protecting interests of their members, because they are the owners too, CUNA wrote to House leadership this week, and the hallmark of any member-owned institution is establishing a dispute resolution process. CUNA wrote to oppose a bill (H.R. 1423) on the House floor that would prohibit the use of a pre-dispute arbitration agreement.

Asw. McKnight Kicks Off Financial Literacy Lessons as New Mandate Takes Effect

As the new school year commences across the Garden State, it is the first time New Jersey law requires middle school students in grades six through eight be taught financial literacy in the classroom. Asw. Angela McKnight (D-31), the prime sponsor of the bill, along with Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver held the bill signing at President Barack Obama School in Jersey City in January.

Increased FCU Loan Limits Would Remove Barriers to Member Service

CUNA and the state leagues strongly support legislation (H.R. 1661) that would provide the NCUA board the flexibility to increase federal credit union loan maturity limits. CUNA wrote to the House Financial Services Committee Tuesday and the issue is among those discussed during the NJCUL’s in-district meetings with members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation.

CUs Back Greg Murphy in Tuesday’s N.C. Special Election

The Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) and the Carolinas Credit Union League are supporting Dr. Greg Murphy (R) in today’s special election in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District. Currently a state representative, Murphy is running for the seat left open by the passing of Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) in February.

Fintech Charter Lawsuit Dismissed

Last week the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia again dismissed the Conference of State Bank Supervisors’ (CSBS) lawsuit against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's (OCC) over its decision to allow non-bank institutions, including fintech companies, to apply for a Special Purpose National Bank Charter (SPNB).

CUNA, State Leagues Continue Opposition to Senate NDAA Provision

Congress must pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020 before September 30, and each chamber has passed its own version. The differences will be sorted out in conference committee, and CUNA and the state leagues will continue their engagement in the process to keep a provision contained in the Senate version out of the final bill.

Treasury, HUD Release Housing Finance Reform Plans

The Treasury Department yesterday released the Trump Administration’s plan to reform the government’s housing finance system which proposes to remove Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from federal control. The Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) also released its plan for housing finance reform.

Congressional Hearing Needed on SBA’s Cooperative Lending Report

CUNA joined dozens of fellow National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA members Wednesday to request a hearing on the Small Business Administration’s recent report on cooperative lending. The letter was sent to leadership of the House and Senate Small Business Committees, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) and Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Steve Chabot (R-OH).

SAFE Banking Act Needed as Public Safety Measure

As Congress returns from its August recess, one of CUNA’s and the state leagues’ top legislative priorities is advancing the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595/S. 2100), a bill that would provide protections to financial institutions serving legal cannabis-based businesses. Leagues and credit unions highlighted the bill during their summer advocacy meetings with lawmakers, and with Congress back in session, CUNA will continue its engagement.

CU Advocates to Meet with Congressman Van Drew

Credit union advocates will meet Wednesday afternoon with Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-2) in his Mays Landing district office. Topics to be discussed will include data security, cannabis banking, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 and housing finance reform.

Appeals Court Rules that OD Class Action Lawsuit Can Proceed

Keith Leggett reported yesterday that the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the 2017 dismissal of a potential overdraft (OD) fee class action against LGE Community Credit Union (Marietta, GA) and remanded it back to the lower court for further proceeding consistent with the opinion. Leggett went on to write that the lawsuit alleges that the credit union assessed OD fees when there was enough money in the account to cover the transaction. The plaintiff alleged that the credit union agreed to only impose an OD fee when the ledger balance was not sufficient to cover the transaction.

CU Advocates Meet with Congressman Pallone

Credit union advocates met Thursday with Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6) in his Long Branch district office. Rep. Pallone chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee which, in addition to having jurisdiction over telecommunications matters, shares jurisdiction over many financial services issues including privacy and data security. He introduced the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act (H.R. 3375) which passed the U.S. House in July with 237 cosponsors including every member the New Jersey delegation.

CU Advocates Meet with Congressman Malinowski

Credit union advocates met Wednesday afternoon with Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-7) in his Somerville district office. Malinowski is serving his first term in Congress. A newcomer to New Jersey politics and elective office, Malinowski unseated five term Rep. Lance in last year’s mid-term elections when Democrats overturned four seats in the New Jersey delegation leaving one lone Republican standing.  

Another Appeals Court Rules in Favor of CUs in Frivolous ADA Suit

CUNA, Leagues and credit unions achieved their third victory at the appellate level Tuesday as the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a frivolous lawsuit alleging website noncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). CUNA and the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) filed an amicus brief in support of the two credit unions in the lawsuit, Aeroquip CU and Belle River Community CU.

5M Cards Exposed in Latest Breach

A data breach involving gas pumps, coffee shops and restaurants operated by Iowa-based Hy-Vee may have led to more than 5 million credit and debit accounts belonging to consumers from 35 states being compromised and sold online. Hy-Vee operates more than 245 supermarkets throughout the Midwest. The breach impacts consumers from 35 states.

CU Advocates Meet with Congressman Pascrell

Credit union advocates met Monday with Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-9) in his Paterson district office. Pascrell serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and has been an outspoken supporter of the credit union tax exemption as well as other credit union positions.

Telecom’s, AGs Reach Deal on Robocalls

Fifty-one attorneys general and twelve major telephone companies have pledged to combat illegal robocalls by implementing call-blocking technology at no cost to consumers and a new caller identification protocol known as SHAKEN/STIR, acronyms for Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) and the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) standards.

NJ Named One of Least Friendly States

According to a Big 7 Travel survey released this week, New Jersey ranks 46th when it comes to friendliness. So how does the home to HBO’s series “The Sopranos” stack up against its neighbors? “Fuhgeddaboudit.” New Jersey came in just four spots higher than New York, which ranked dead last, and two spots higher than Delaware which ranked 48th. Pennsylvania, home to the City of Brotherly Love, ranked 18th besting the Garden State by 28 spots. 

Former Intern Wants to Unseat Her Old Boss, Rep. Smith

A former intern for Rep. Chris Smith (R-4) is expected to announce her candidacy for the Democratic nomination to challenge him next year in his bid to win a 21st term. The “dean” of New Jersey’s congressional delegation, Smith is also the delegation’s lone Republican after Democrats captured four additional House seats in last year’s mid-term elections.

Democratic Councilman to Seek GOP Nomination to Challenge Rep. Watson Coleman in CD12

Old Bridge Democratic Councilman Mark Razzoli announced Friday he has decided to run for Congress as a Republican, a decision that was “not made in haste, but a necessary one for anyone with a conscience” said Razzoli. “The Democratic Party that I knew has abandoned the American way of life, rule of law, and common sense, in favor of exaggerated, socialist ideology”, he added.

Will Seth Grossman Pursue a Rematch in CD2?

With a few of the state’s 2020 congressional races beginning to take some shape, many have their eye on the outspoken and controversial Seth Grossman wondering whether the 2018 Republican nominee in the 2nd Congressional District will pursue the party’s 2020 nomination to challenge Rep. Jeff Van Drew’s (D-2) bid for a second term. 

Rep. Gottheimer Visits 1st Bergen FCU to Announce Legislation to Help Jersey Families Check and Boost Credit

Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) Tuesday announced two bipartisan bills to fix two significant pillars of our credit system that are in dire need of an upgrade: how credit scores are calculated and how our credit is reported. Gottheimer’s Accurate Access to Credit Information Act will create a single, easy-to-use portal providing free access to a credit score and all three major credit bureau reports, with the ability to identify errors and initiate disputes, lift security freezes, and information on who has accessed your report over the prior two years.

CUNA, Ohio League Attend Arguments in Appellate-level ADA Case

CUNA, along with the Ohio Credit Union League, attended Thursday’s arguments before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati. The cases are Brintley v. Aeroquip CU and Brintley v. Belle River Community Credit Union, two Michigan-based credit unions hit with frivolous lawsuits claiming website noncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Rep. Smith Confirms He’ll Seek Re-Election

Rep. Chris Smith (R-4) told the New Jersey Globe this week that he will “enthusiastically” seek re-election to a 21st term in Congress next year. “I’ve never been more enthusiastic about a job in my life,” Smith said.  “I hope to have another decade here. I love it that much.”

“Wage Theft” Legislation Signed into Law

State legislation (S1790, now P.L.2019, c.212) intended to protect workers against wages theft was signed into law Tuesday by Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver. Oliver has been serving as acting governor while Governor Phil Murphy was vacationing in Italy. Gov. Murphy is expected to return to the Garden State this afternoon.

Senators Continue Push for ADA Website Clarity

A group of U.S. Senators followed up their September 2018 letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) Wednesday, continuing to urge the agency to take action to promote clarity, compliance and accessibility regarding how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to websites. Credit unions around the country have faced lawsuits due to the uncertainty. CUNA and the state leagues have been strong advocates for a solution in the legal, regulatory and Congressional arenas.

State Banker Associations Call for Increased CU Oversight in Joint Letter to Congress

A group of 51 state bankers associations sent a letter Wednesday to the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee calling for a review of the credit union industry to determine whether it is living up to its statutory mission of serving people of “small means.” The group, representing all fifty states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, also called for a thorough examination of the NCUA and its oversight of the credit union industry.

Salary Inquiry Prohibition Signed into Law

State legislation (A1094) which will prevent an employer from asking about a job applicant’s wage and salary history was signed into law Thursday by Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver. Oliver is serving as acting governor while Governor Phil Murphy is on a two-week vacation in Italy.

Robocall Bill Passes House with CUNA-suggested Changes

The US House of Representatives Wednesday passed the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act (H.R. 3375) by a vote of 429-3. The bill, which is the latest attempt by Congress to curtail fraudulent robocalls, had been amended in recent weeks to address concerns that CUNA raised that the legislation would limit credit unions’ ability to reach their members for legitimate business concerns.

SAFE Banking Act Would Negate Many Cannabis Safety Risks, CUNA Witness Tells Senate Banking Committee

Allowing legal cannabis-based businesses access to financial services is a public safety issue, noted Rachel Pross, representing the CUNA/League system before the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday. Pross, Chief Risk Officer at Maps CU, Salem, Ore., testified in support of legislation that would protect financial institutions that serve cannabis businesses in places where it is legal. 

CUNA: Coming Up this Week in Washington

This week, CUNA reports that the House of Representatives may vote on a possible deal to raise the budget caps and the debt limit.  In addition, the House has scheduled votes on H.R. 397, the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act; H.R. 2203, the Homeland Security Improvement Act; and H.R. 3375, the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act. 

New NJEDA Program Looks to Support Small Business Growth Through CDFI Initiative

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority on Thursday announced a new pilot program aimed at making financing available to organizations that provide loans to micro-enterprises and other small businesses that are not yet able to qualify for traditional bank financing. The new program is “In support of Gov. Phil Murphy’s plan for building a stronger and fairer economy by better supporting small business.”

CUNA, ABA Pen Op-Ed in Support for SAFE Banking Act, Nussle Comments in Forbes

Congress can stop the cannabis banking conundrum now, CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle and American Bankers Association President/CEO Rob Nichols wrote in Fox Business Thursday. A credit union witness is scheduled to testify on CUNA's behalf before the Senate Banking Committee on the need for legal cannabis business to access financial services, and Nussle and Nichols outline why this is necessary in the op-ed.

Governor Murphy, Attorney General Grewal Sue IRS Over SALT Deduction Rule

Governor Phil Murphy and state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced Wednesday that the state has filed a lawsuit that seeks to strike down a new IRS rule that would prevent New Jersey residents from obtaining a full federal charitable deduction whenever they contribute to local governments and other qualifying institutions. The lawsuit aims to restore the state’s “SALT deduction work-around” which was designed to preserve the full federal income tax deductibility of state and local taxes.

CUNA Backs Efforts to Remedy Erroneous Call-Blocking

CUNA supports the addition of language to address erroneous call-blocking by the Federal Communications Commission, it wrote to leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Tuesday. The committee will commence a markup of more than 20 bills Wednesday, including the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act (H.R. 3375), sponsored by committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-6).

CUs Achieve Appellate-Level Win in Frivolous ADA Lawsuit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled in favor of a credit union facing a frivolous lawsuit claiming violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Monday. CUNA and the Wisconsin and Illinois Credit Union Leagues filed a brief in support of Aurora Policemen CU, Aurora, Ill., in Carello v. Aurora Policemen CU.

Full House Consideration of NDAA Begins Today

The House is set today to begin its consideration of its FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Although more than 650 amendments were filed with the House Rules Committee, none of them would add credit union-opposed language extending to banks the rent-free access to military bases for which credit unions are eligible. The Rules Committee ultimately decides which amendments proceed to floor consideration.

Congress Returns After July 4th Recess

Both Houses of Congress will be back in session this week following last week’s July 4th recess. CUNA and the state leagues will be active on a number of credit union issues including the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

NJ Governor Murphy Names Evan Weiss Senior Advisor for Public Finance

Tuesday, Governor Phil Murphy named Evan Weiss Senior Advisor for Public Finance. Weiss, an expert in public finance and economic development, has been hired by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. Weiss is on mobility from the EDA to the Governor’s Office, where he will report to Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Growth Joe Kelley and Chief Policy Advisor Kathleen Frangione.

Learn How the New NJ Minimum Wage Law Will Affect Credit Unions

In February, Governor Phil Murphy made good on a campaign promise to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, with the first increase kicking in today, July 1. Some credit unions have already reported losing front-line staff to other employers. We’ve gotten two types of questions about the new law – what are the requirements and the exceptions, and then how are other credit unions dealing with the newly competitive market for talent.

CUT: House Bill Could Block Essential Phone Calls

The Credit Union Times reported today that Bipartisan House legislation that would block robocalls also could keep credit unions from being able to contact their members, trade groups said. The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications and Telecommunications last week approved H.R 3375, which now goes to the full committee.

Senate Passes NDAA with CUNA-Opposed Language

The Senate passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020 Thursday with CUNA-opposed language expanding certain waivers for rent and other facilities costs for financial institutions on military installations currently granted to credit unions.

Governor Murphy to Sign Budget, No Government Shutdown

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Thursday that he will sign the budget passed by the Legislature to avoid a government shutdown on Sunday, June 30th despite the absence of the millionaire’s tax he insisted be included. Speaking at an event in Secaucus to publicize the extra $50M in NJ Transit funding it includes, Murphy said he “can’t play politics with innocent lives” and he “will meet our constitutional deadline” to sign the budget, though whether he makes line-item vetoes remains to be seen.

FSGG Appropriations Bill with CU-supported Funding Levels Passes House

The House passed the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (H.R. 3351 Wednesday. CUNA wrote in support of the bill earlier this week due to the appropriations amounts for several credit union funds, including the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund and NCUA’s Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF).

CUNA Pushes Against Increased Bank Access to Military Bases as Senate Considers Defense Authorization Act

CUNA called on Senate leadership Monday to reject inclusion of any language in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020 that would expand the Department of Defense’s (DoD) authority to exempt financial institutions from certain costs on military installations. The current Senate version contains such language, while CUNA, leagues and the Defense Credit Union Council successfully blocked language in the House NDAA that would have broadened the exemption.

CUNA Engaged w/ Appropriations Markups, Robocall Hearing

CUNA will be engaged with Congressional activities in both chambers this week, including committee and floor consideration of legislation and hearings covering credit union priorities. Among other bills, the House is expected to consider the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2020 (H.R. 3351).

CUNA Engaged w/ Appropriations Markups, Robocall Hearing

CUNA will be engaged with Congressional activities in both chambers this week, including committee and floor consideration of legislation and hearings covering credit union priorities. Among other bills, the House is expected to consider the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2020 (H.R. 3351).

The bill contains appropriations for several credit union funds, including the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund at $300 million and NCUA’s Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF) at $2 million. CUNA wrote (please post and add link) to House leadership to express credit unions’ support continued funding of the programs.

The bill’s report language also contains credit union-supported language on the current expected credit loss (CECL) standard, NCUA’s support for community development credit unions in low-income communities and others.

H.R. 3351 passed the House Appropriations Committee June 11.

The Senate is expected to consider its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020. The bill contains CUNA-opposed language regarding bank access to military installations, and CUNA wrote to Senate leadership Monday with its concerns.

Bipartisan Measure to Restore SALT Workaround Introduced by Reps Gottheimer and King

Following the finalization of the U.S. Treasury Department’s rule on charitable contributions, U.S. Reps. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and Peter King (NY-2) introduced a bipartisan Joint Resolution to fully repeal the Treasury Department’s ruling. This new rule effectively prohibits states like New Jersey and New York from allowing towns and municipalities to use charitable funds to offer real tax relief to their communities.

Robocall Prohibition Mark-Up This Week

On Tuesday the House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to begin mark-up of the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act which has been reintroduce as H.R. 3375. The NJCUL reached out to the committee chairman Rep. Frank Pallone’s (D-6) office last week to express concerns that any legislative solution to the growing problem of unwanted robocalls not impede a credit union’s ability to contact members for legitimate purposes.

Greater Appraisal Consistency Benefits Consumers, Mortgage Lenders

Appraisals play a critical role in the home purchase process and a credit union’s assessment of the safety and soundness of providing a home loan, CUNA wrote to a House Financial Services subcommittee Wednesday. The House Financial Services subcommittee on housing, community development and insurance conducted a hearing on appraisals, which included a discussion of the Homebuyer Assistance Act of 2019 (H.R. 2852).

Salary Inquiry Ban Gets Final Legislative Approval, Sent to Governor

Legislation (A1094) that would prohibit an employer from asking about or considering an applicant’s wage or salary history when considering them for employment, or negotiating an offer of employment, received final legislative approval Thursday. The measure passed the Senate (25-9) yesterday and the Assembly (53-24-2) in March, largely along partisan lines in both chambers. It now heads to the governor who is expected to sign it into law.

Draft ILLICIT CASH Act Addresses BSA/AML Burdens

Credit unions support efforts to track money laundering and terrorist financing, but also believe it is important to strike the right balance between the compliance costs and benefits to the federal government, CUNA wrote to Senate Banking Committee leadership Wednesday before a hearing in which it will discuss draft legislation.

Salary Inquiry Ban Advances

Legislation (A1094) that would prohibit an employer from asking about or considering an applicant’s wage or salary history when considering them for employment, or negotiating an offer of employment, was reported from the Senate Labor Committee Monday. The measure passed the Assembly in March. The Senate companion (S559) passed the upper chamber last year and is currently pending Assembly Labor Committee action.

CUNA Engaged with Cannabis, Beneficial-Owner Hearings

Both the House and Senate are in session this week and will be conducting several hearings of note to credit unions. The House Small Business Committee will conduct a hearing Wednesday about small businesses in the legal cannabis industry. While CUNA and the state leagues have not taken a position on the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana, they support legislation that would allow credit unions to offer services to cannabis-based businesses in places where it is legal. 

Twenty Governors Pen Cannabis Banking Letter to Congress

Eighteen state and two territorial governors added their names to a letter sent last week urging Congress to pass legislation to enable financial institutions to provide banking services to state-licensed cannabis businesses. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D) were among the 20 signatories to the letter sent Thursday to U.S. Senate and U.S. House leadership, and the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Banking and House Financial Service committees. 

Draft Bipartisan BSA/AML Reform Released

A bipartisan group of senators has released draft legislation to reform aspects of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), specifically targeted at anti-money laundering (AML)-combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) requirements. The draft comes as the House Financial Services Committee marks-up a bill related to beneficial ownership disclosure.

Congress Should Seek Additional Information from FCC on Call-blocking Order, CUNA Writes Senate Commerce Committee

The Senate Commerce Committee should press the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on what actions and rulemakings, if any, the agency will undertake to ensure legally permissible calls aren’t impacted by last week’s call-blocking ruling. The committee conducted its oversight hearing of the FCC Wednesday, and CUNA submitted its letter in response to last week’s FCC vote on call blocking.

FY20 Defense Authorization Passes Committee without Credit Union-Opposed Language

The House Armed Services Committee passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020 early ThursdayWhile an amendment was offered that would have extended to banks the same rent-free access to land and facilities that credit unions have been granted due to their not-for-profit, member-owned mission and structure, CUNA, selected leagues, and the Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC) were successful in working with committee members to ensure such language was kept out of the final bill. 

CECL Delay & Study Bill Introduced, CUNA Offers Support

It is essential to delay the current expected credit loss (CECL) accounting standard to study its potential impact and allow consideration of other methods, CUNA wrote Tuesday in support of the CECL Consumer Impact and Study Bill of 2019, introduced by Reps. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) and Ted Budd (R-NC). Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) is one of seven cosponsors of the bipartisan measure.

House Appropriations Committee Passes Bill with $300M for CDFI Fund, $2M for CDRLF

CUNA supported appropriations levels for two credit union-related funds in the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Act for Fiscal Year 2020 in a letter to House Appropriations Committee leadership Tuesday. The NJCUL also contacted committee member Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12) and in March asked members of the state’s delegation to add their names to a “Dear Colleague Letter” encouraging appropriations for both funds.

CUAC Meeting Features Remittance, Debt Collection Talks

CUNA attended the two-day meeting of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Credit Union Advisory Council last week. The CUAC advises the bureau on regulating consumer financial products or services, from the perspectives of credit unions and is comprised solely of CUNA member credit unions.

Data Breaches Compromise Records of Nearly 20 Million

Medical testing company LabCorp. said Tuesday that personal and financial data on some 7.7 million consumers were exposed by a breach at a third-party billing collections firm. That company, the American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA), also recently notified another medical testing giant, Quest Diagnostics, that an intrusion in its payments Web site exposed personal, financial and medical data on nearly 12 million Quest patients.

Reminder: Web Site Available to File Wendy’s Data Breach Claims, Deadline is Sept. 30

Financial institutions affected by the data breach at Wendy’s restaurants can file their claims and find additional information at a website established as part of the settlement of that case, wendysfidatabreachsettlement.com. It contains a mechanism for filing claims, as well as additional information, frequently asked questions, a list of important deadlines and court documents.

Economic Factors Support Growth, FOMC Says

Members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) – the Federal Reserve's monetary policy-setting arm – viewed factors such as strength in the labor market, improved consumer confidence and diminished downside risks as "likely to support solid growth over the remainder of the year," according to minutes from the committee's April-May meeting released Wednesday.

Faster Payments, Debt Collection on CUAC Agenda

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)'s Credit Union Advisory Council (CUAC) and other advisory boards will meet June 5-6 to discuss various issues affecting the industry, including faster payments and the bureau's proposed rule-making related to third-party debt collectors.

Community Lenders Must be at Core of Housing Finance Reform

CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan continued CUNA’s direct advocacy to staff from all 535 Congressional offices Thursday with a message highlighting six credit union principles for housing finance reform. CUNA has gone on record numerous times since the start of this Congress with housing finance reform priorities, emphasizing that policymakers must keep credit unions’ role in supporting their communities in mind.

Robocall Bill Passes Senate

The Senate Thursday passed legislation that would enhance the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) enforcement authority over violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and require voice service providers to authenticate and block illegal robocalls.

CU-backed Candidate Elected to Fill Pennsylvania Delegation Vacancy

Credit union supporter Fred Keller (R) won a special election to represent Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District in Congress Tuesday, defeating Democratic challenger Marc Friedenberg with 68.1% of the vote. Keller was supported by CUNA’s political action committee, the Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC), and the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association.

CECL Delay Bill Would Ensure Impact is Properly Studied, CUNA Writes

CUNA maintains its longstanding position that the current expected credit loss (CECL) standard is inappropriate for credit unions and backed a bill Wednesday that would require the standard to be delayed and studied by the Securities and Exchange Commission along with the federal financial regulators, including the NCUA. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) introduced the Continued Encouragement for Consumer Lending Act (S. 1564) Tuesday.

CUNA, Financial Trades Write Congress Opposing Reinstatement of CFPB’s Arbitration Rule

Reinstating the CFPB’s rule on arbitration agreements would undermine the ability of credit unions and other financial institutions to offer faster, more cost-effective resolutions to potential disputes than class action litigation, CUNA and other financial trades said in a joint letter to members of Congress Tuesday. CUNA joined other financial trade organizations to oppose an amendment to the Consumers First Act (H.R. 1500) that would reinstate the rule.

Disproportionate Compliance Burdens Mean Less Focus on Members, CUNA Tells Senate Banking Leadership

Credit unions take Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) compliance seriously, but when resources are disproportionately spent on compliance, fewer safe and affordable products are available, CUNA wrote to Senate Banking Leadership Tuesday. The committee conducted a hearing Tuesday on combating illicit financing and the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) customer due diligence (CDD) rule.

CULAC, PCUA Back Fred Keller in Tuesday’s Special Election

The Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC), CUNA’s political action committee, and the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) are supporting State Rep. Fred Keller (R) Tuesday in the first special election of the 116th Congress. Keller is running for the seat in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District, which is open due to former Rep. Tom Marino’s (R) retirement in January.

FCUs Must Be Allowed Access to Federal Courts, Says CUNA Brief

CUNA supports federal credit unions’ access to federal courts via diversity jurisdiction, one of the two methods for a federal court to have jurisdiction, the association indicated in an amicus brief filed Monday. CUNA’s brief was submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth District, in response to a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia that found Section 1332 of the U.S. Code is the sole source of diversity jurisdiction and that Section 1332 does not apply to federally chartered corporations.

FCC’s O’Rielly calls for swift action on CUNA’s TCPA petition

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Michael O’Rielly said Thursday during public remarks that the FCC has an obligation to resolve many of the worthy Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) petitions that are currently pending. He specifically cited CUNA’s petition, submitted in September 2017, that requests that FCC take action to provide credit unions with regulatory relief from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  

FCC automatic robocall blocking could hamper CU-member communications

CUNA is concerned about proposed action from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would block robocalls by default, believing it could result in serious disruptions to vital credit union-member communications. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said Wednesday that the commission will vote June 6 on a declaratory ruling that would allow phone carriers to block suspected robocalls unless consumers affirmatively opt-out.

CUNA CECL data, concerns addressed in hearing with NCUA’s Hood

Members of the House Financial Services Committee cited CUNA data on the current expected credit loss (CECL) standard during a hearing Thursday with federal financial regulators including NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood. CECL is a new accounting standard that standard that recognizes lifetime expected credit losses, issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).

Senator Menendez Names New State Director

Sen. Robert Menendez has named Raphael Chavez-Fernandez his new State Director to lead the senator’s New Jersey offices and staff in Newark and Barrington.  Chavez-Fernandez, who served as deputy campaign manager during Menendez’s successful 2018 re-election run, returns to Menendez’s Senate office after spending the past three years working in the private sector.

ADA Lawsuit Dismissal Upheld

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has upheld the dismissal of another lawsuit related to unclear Web site accessibility standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The lawsuit was against Herndon, Virginia-based Northwest FCU.

Flood Insurance Extender Passes House

Legislation (H.R. 2578) extending the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through September passed the House Tuesday by a voice vote. The program is currently set to expire at the end of the month. The measure now heads to the Senate for consideration after which the president is expected to sign it into law.

CUNA Expresses CU Priorities, Difference Ahead of Hood Testimony

NCUA should take steps toward enhancements to the credit union charter, while improving cybersecurity efforts and reducing regulatory burden, CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle wrote in a letter to Senate Banking Committee leadership in advance of NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood’s scheduled appearance before the committee. Hood will appear Wednesday as part of a panel of federal financial regulators.

Flood Insurance Extension Introduced

House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and ranking member Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), late last week announced that they were introducing legislation that would extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through September 30. The current authorization is set to expire on May 30.

CUNA Contacts Sen. Sanders, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Highlighting Benefits of CU Difference in Wake of their USPS Banking Proposal

The best option for consumers to access high-quality, affordable financial services are the credit unions in their communities, CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle wrote to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) Thursday. The two legislators recently announced a proposal expanding the duties of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to include offering financial services and products.

Data security standards must be strong, consistent, apply to all

The best approach on data security and privacy for consumers and business is for Congress to develop a strong privacy law that applies to all businesses and entities that collect, house or otherwise possess information, CUNA wrote to leadership of the Senate Banking and House Energy and Commerce Committees Tuesday. CUNA’s letters state that Congress must address data security in order to provide consumers with data privacy.

CFPB should bolster PACE disclosures, consumer protections

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) should quickly promulgate a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing rule that subjects PACE programs to the Truth in Lending Act, plus additional disclosures, CUNA wrote to the CFPB Tuesday. PACE financing permits a property owner to finance the purchase of energy efficiency improvements and pay for the purchase through an assessment on the property.

Current TCPA Reflects Failure to Recognize Modern Communications

Mobile phone usage trends suggest that the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) existing interpretation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and implementing regulations is both outdated and harmful to consumers and credit unions, CUNA wrote Monday. CUNA sent its letter to the leadership of the Senate Appropriations sub-committee on financial services and general government for the record of its hearing on the FCC and Federal Trade Commission budget.

House Passes Senior Security Act, Congressman Gottheimer’s Bill to Address Financial Fraud and Scams Targeting Seniors

The U.S. House Tuesday passed the Senior Security Act (H.R. 1876) by a vote of 392 to 20. The bipartisan bill, introduced by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-5) and Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN-9), creates a Senior Investor Task Force at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to help stop financial predators from targeting seniors. The legislation will help strengthen protections and safeguards for seniors.

Substantial Data Security Legislation Needed for America’s Consumers

Taking a narrow view of data privacy and security aimed at specific companies would be a “grave mistake,” CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle wrote to Senate Commerce Committee leadership Wednesday. The letter follows an email communication sent Tuesday by CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan to Senate Commerce Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee staff on the importance of strong data security legislation.

CUs Must Continue Investment in Diverse Populations to Succeed

Credit unions are committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and have a long history of serving underserved and diverse communities, CUNA wrote to the House Financial Services sub-committee on diversity and inclusion Wednesday. CUNA submitted its letter for the record of the sub-committee’s hearing on diversity and inclusion in the context of business.

Chairman Pallone Notes Need to Distinguish Legitimate Calls from Robocalls

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6) noted the need to distinguish legitimate calls, such as those made by credit unions to their members, from illegal robocalls from telemarketers during a Tuesday committee hearing. The New Jersey Credit Union League (NJCUL) has met numerous times with Rep. Pallone and the other members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation to discuss the issue and the need for clarity and protection for legitimate calls made by credit unions to their members. 

Governor Murphy Signs Bi-partisan Package of Nine Foreclosure Bills

Governor Phil Murphy Monday signed a bipartisan legislative package into law that will help New Jerseyans struggling with the state’s highest-in-the-nation foreclosure rate. The new laws will assist homeowners facing the prospect of foreclosure and pave the way for community revival by addressing blight. Many of the measures were recommended in a September 2018 report by the Special Committee on Residential Foreclosures, which was created by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.

CUNA Reiterates Push Against Rent-free Bank Access to Military Bases

CUNA would be concerned with the inclusion of any language in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020 that would allow banks rent-free access to military installations, CUNA wrote to House and Senate Armed Forces Committee leadership Monday. There is no such language in the FY2020 NDAA, CUNA and the Defense Credit Union Council successfully fought for similar language to be removed from last year’s NDAA, it was included in an early version of the bill.

CUNA leaders meet with new NCUA board member Todd Harper

CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle, Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan, Deputy Chief Advocacy Officer Elizabeth Eurgubian and Senior Director of Advocacy and Counsel Mitria Wilson met with new NCUA board member Todd Harper Wednesday to welcome him to the board and discuss credit union priorities. Harper was nominated by President Donald Trump in January and was confirmed in March, along with NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood.

Four Delegation Members Sign-on to House CDFI Dear Colleague Letter

Four members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation added their names to the “dear  colleague” letter to the House Appropriations Committee supporting continued funding of the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions CDFI Fund (CDFI), Reps Bill Pascrell (D-9), Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10), Albio Sires (D-8) and Jeff Van Drew (D-2). A member of the committee, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman did not sign the letter, but assured the NJCUL she would support CDFI funding when it came up in committee.

CUNA Attends ‘Opportunity Zone’ Conference at White House

CUNA represented America’s credit unions at Wednesday’s Opportunity Zone Conference at the White House, an event featuring cabinet and other officials, along with state, local, tribal and community leaders. The Opportunity Zone program, created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, encourages individuals and businesses to invest in 8,760 low-income communities designated “Opportunity Zones.”

Robocall Hearing Focuses on TRACED Act

A Senate Commerce sub-committee held a hearing Thursday to examine an FCC report on robocalls and review the steps that Congress is taking to provide relief from illegal calls. Witnesses offered support for the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence, or TRACED Act (S.151), which was introduced by sub-committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) and member Ed Markey (D-MA) and discussed suitable definitions of "autodialer."

Senate Republican Leader Kean to Challenge Rep. Malinowski in 2020

State Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-21) is expected to announce that he will challenge freshman Congressman Tom Malinowski (D-7) in 2020. Kean launched an exploratory committee in March and Monday sent an email invitation to supporters for a Tuesday evening event in Clark at which he is expected to formally enter the race for the Republican nomination in the 7th District.

Proposed SBA 7(a) Fee Increases Could Harm CU Business Lending

CUNA is concerned about a proposed increase in fees related to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 7(a) program, particularly since it believes it could come with unintended consequences to small business borrowers. CUNA shared those concerns in a letter to the House Small Business sub-committee on economic growth, tax and capital access for its hearing on the proposed 7(a) fee changes.

IRS Reform Bill Passes House

The House Tuesday passed by voice vote The Taxpayer First Act pf 2019 (H.R. 1957) that would make some structural changes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and change the agency's interactions with taxpayers. Some of the provisions could impact certain credit unions. 

One-Size-Fits-All Regulations Hurt CU Services for 115M Americans

Megabanks continue to grow as credit unions work to provide access to affordable financial services to 115 million Americans, CUNA told the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday, and a one-size-fits-all approach brings addition burdens to those credit unions. The committee conducted a hearing Wednesday with the executives of seven of those megabanks.

CU Tax Status Toolkit Released by CUNA

CUNA is reaching out to leagues and member credit unions with a toolkit stocked with resources to demonstrate the wide variety of public benefits that exist due to the existence of not-for-profit financial cooperatives. CUNA members are being provided with a collection of resources that help amplify the good work that credit unions do for their communities while defending against attacks from banks on their tax-exempt status.

CU Tax Status One of the Best Investments a Government Can Make

The tax treatment conveyed on credit unions continues to serve the purpose for which it was created and is one of the best investments that the government makes in its citizens, concludes a new white paper from CUNA on the credit union tax status (see related story below). CUNA released the white paper to show the numerous benefits realized by Americans due to credit unions’ presence in the market, and how any change to the credit union tax status would result in a significant loss of those benefits.

FED Accepting Applications for Community Advisory Council

Application are now being accepted for the Federal Reserve Board’s Community Advisory Council (CAC). The CAC was formed in 2015 to offer diverse perspectives on the economic circumstances and financial services needs of consumers and communities, with a particular focus on the concerns of low- and moderate-income populations.

President Announces Choice to Head SBA

President Donald Trump Thursday announced that he plans to nominate Jovita Carranza to replace Linda McMahon as as head of the Small Business Administration (SBA). McMahon is stepping down April 12 to head up the American First Action super PAC.  Carranza currently serves as U.S. treasurer within the Treasury Department, and previously served as deputy SBA administrator under President George W. Bush.

CDFI Funding Round Opens, June 6 Deadline

The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Program announced Thursday that it will be accepting applications from credit unions and other institutions that qualify as CDFIs for up to $184 million in grants during its fiscal year 2019 funding round. The application deadline is June 6.

STATES Act is ‘Reasonable and Sound’ Approach to Cannabis Banking Issue

CUNA wrote in support of House and Senate companion bills Thursday that would clarify the federal treatment of marijuana where it is legal and permit credit unions in those states to serve members’ related needs. The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act of 2019 was introduced by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) in the Senate and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Dave Joyce (R-Ohio).

Gov. Murphy Signs Executive Order Establishing New Regulatory Principles

Gov. Phil Murphy Tuesday signed an Executive Order establishing new regulatory principles to foster economic growth and government efficiency, as well as protect the environment, health, safety, and welfare of New Jersey’s residents and communities. Executive Order No. 63 rescinds and replaces Governor Christie’s Executive Order No. 2 (2010), which outlined the regulatory principles of the prior administration.

CUNA Weighs-in on TCPA Modernization Need, TRACED Act Passes Senate Committee

As Congress considers the budget for the Federal Communications Commission, it is imperative Congress encourage the agency to modernize implementing regulations for the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), CUNA wrote Wednesday. CUNA sent its letter to the House Appropriations sub-committee on financial services and general government for its hearing on the FCC’s budget for the upcoming year.

CFPB Director Kraninger Named FFIEC Chair, McWatters Named Vice Chair

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) announced Monday that Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Kathleen Kraninger will serve as FFIEC chair for a two-year term running through March 31, 2021. She succeeds FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams. The FFIEC also named NCUA Board Chairman J. Mark McWatters as its new vice chair for the same two-year term.

TRACED Act Needs Exception for Legit Business Communications

While credit unions share concerns about unwanted robocalls to consumers, CUNA believes the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act (S. 151) as presently drafted would negatively impact credit union-member communications. CUNA pledged to work with legislators to improve the TRACED Act in a letter sent Monday to Senate Commerce Committee leadership in advance of the committee’s Wednesday mark-up of S. 151 and other bills.

TCPA Clarity Needed for CUs to Communicate with Members

Regulations governing how businesses can interact with consumers are not keeping up with technology, leaving both consumers and businesses at risk, CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan wrote to all 535 Congressional offices Thursday. Credit unions are among the businesses that risk legal action when contacting members due to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Substantive Reform of CFPB Needed, Including Leadership Commission

While CUNA is concerned about several provisions of the Consumers First Act (H.R. 1500), it believes substantive reform at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is needed. CUNA wrote to House Financial Services Committee leadership Tuesday as it marked up several bills, including H.R. 1500 and the CUNA-League backed Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595) (see related story).

GAO Report Calls for Increased Credit Bureau Oversight

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a new report on the credit reporting agencies (CRAs) that recommends improving federal enforcement of data safeguards and oversight of the companies' security practices. CUNA and the state leagues believe credit bureaus should be examined for compliance with Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) data security standards.

115th Congress: Reps Lance and Gottheimer Most Bipartisan Delegation Members, Rep. Watson Coleman Least Bipartisan

The Lugar Center, led by former senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), and the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University named Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7) the most bipartisan member of New Jersey’s delegation to the last Congress, and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-5) the most bipartisan Democratic freshman based on their newly released Bipartisan Index for 2018.

FHFA Credit Score Model Needs Adequate Cost-benefit Analysis, CUNA Tells FHFA

The ability of the housing finance system to accurately assess credit risk while responsibly expanding access to affordable mortgage credit for consumers is a key concern for credit unions and the members they serve, CUNA wrote to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Thursday. The FHFA released a proposal on credit scoring in response to provisions in the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155) directing it to establish a “validation and approval process for the use of credit score models” under which they operate.

House Passes Gottheimer-Lucas Bill for Transparency, Accountability at Federal Reserve

The U.S. House last week passed the Federal Reserve Supervision Testimony Clarification Act (H.R. 974) sponsored by Congressmen Josh Gottheimer (D-05) and Frank Lucas (R-OK), both members of the House Committee on Financial Services. The bill mandates that in the absence of a Vice Chair of Supervision on the Federal Reserve Board, someone from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors must appear before Congress to testify on supervisory issues. It also mandates that the Vice Chairman for Supervision must provide written testimony, in addition to verbal testimony.

Staff Changes in Two NJ Delegation Offices Announced

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12) announced this week that Kari Osmond and Courtney Cochran have been promoted to the position of deputy chief of staff. Osmond had been Watson Coleman’s district director. Cochran had been the communications director and press secretary in the Washington office.

Budget Proposal Again Nixes CDFI Funding, Brings CFPB into Appropriations Process

The Trump Administration has released additional details for the president's proposed budget for fiscal year 2020 (FY2020). The proposal shows similarities between previous ones including elimination of the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, bringing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) under the appropriations process, increasing government-sponsored enterprises' (GSEs) guarantee fees and reforming the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Frivolous ADA Lawsuit Against Ohio CU Dismissed

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio has dismissed a lawsuit against an Ohio credit union alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). CUNA and the Ohio Credit Union League filed an amicus brief in Mitchell v. BMI Federal Credit Union as part of the CUNA/league defense of credit unions facing frivolous ADA suits.

CUNA Details Effects on CUs of Warren CRA Legislation

CUNA responded to several recent inaccurate reports about its support of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) new housing bill, which CUNA, leagues and credit unions worked with Warren on for months, in a recent Removing Barriers Blog entry. Through these advocacy efforts, Warren’s bill does not place credit unions under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), as the version introduced in the previous Congress would.

Strong, National Data Security/Privacy Standard Only Way to Stop Breaches

Stringent data protection requirements is a hallmark of the financial services industry, but the lack of standards for other entities mean current data security and privacy laws do not work, CUNA wrote Friday. Its letter was sent to Senate Banking Committee leadership in response to an invitation of stakeholder feedback on collection, use, and protection of personal information by financial regulators and private companies.

Warren Bill is Proof CU Difference Resonates, Says Donovan

The credit union mission and structure is a tentpole of credit unions’ advocacy playbook because it resonates with lawmakers, CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan wrote in Credit Union Times this week. This is evidenced by successful CUNA, league and credit union engagement with Sen. Elizabeth Warren over the last several months.

Senator Warren Releases CRA Bill Reflecting Months of CUNA/League Engagement

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released an updated version of her housing legislation Wednesday, a version of the bill that reflects significant engagement between CUNA, leagues, credit unions, and Warren. Unlike the previous version, the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act of 2019 would not require credit unions to comply with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

CU Leaders Visit Capitol Hill on Behalf of Members

Credit unions could be spotted in every single Congressional building on Capitol Hill Wednesday as credit union leaders visited with elected officials to tell stories about the credit union difference, including New Jersey credit union advocates (see related story above). The visits are an annual tradition that is part of the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC).

NJ Joins Annual Hike-the-Hike During CUNA’s GAC, Meetings Held with All 14 Delegation Offices

WASHINGTON – After wrapping up at the Wednesday morning session at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference, leaders in attendance headed to Capitol Hill for meetings with their legislators. Fourteen professionals and volunteers from seven New Jersey credit unions joined NJCUL President/CEO David Frankil and Vice President of Corporate & Governmental Affairs Chris Abeel and CUNA Engagement Consultant Sterling Nowka in meetings with the offices of all 14 members of New Jersey’s delegation.

Vice President Pence Delivers Message to Credit Unions

WASHINGTON – At the Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference (CUNA GAC) Tuesday, credit union professionals from around the country gathered to hear Vice President of the United States Mike Pence recognize credit unions for the vital role they play in the American economy.  

Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill Visits With NJ CU Advocates at League’s GAC Dinner

WASHINGTON – Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-11), one of the newest members of the state’s congressional delegation, joined New Jersey credit union advocates at a New Jersey Credit Union League dinner in Washington, D.C. Tuesday evening. The dinner was held for NJCUL-member credit unions that are in Washington this week for CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC).