2018 Victories Set Up CU Momentum Going Forward

CUNA and the state leagues came into 2018 with a bold advocacy agenda and saw historic victories as a result of unparalleled engagement and 360-degree advocacy. Execution of this agenda in the legislative, regulatory and judicial arenas helped ensure credit unions and their members are well-positioned going into 2019.

“The CUNA/league system delivered historic victories for the credit union system in 2018, hard-fought wins that helped us meet the goal we set at the beginning of the year: to revolutionize the operating environment for credit unions,” CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan said. “It’s because of our 360-degree advocacy, exploring opportunities from every angle, that our 2018 saw us remove regulatory barriers, expand credit union powers and protect the credit union tax status. We’re excited with the momentum we’ve got, and with continued support from our leagues, credit unions and members, we’ve got high hopes headed into 2019.”

Victories CUNA and state credit union leagues helped achieve in 2018 include:

Removing Regulatory Barriers

  • Enactment of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155), which included several credit union priorities, including important Dodd-Frank amendments, a charter enhancement provision to allow more member business lending, a provision that requires the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) to hold an annual budget hearing and a provision that protects credit union officials that report suspected elder financial abuse;
  • Aggressively engaging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to urge it to fix burdensome rules and slow the pace of new rules, and the Bureau has not issued any new proposal that adds to credit unions’ regulatory burden;
  • Successfully advocating for the CFPB to retain the Credit Union Advisory Council;
  • Standing with credit unions facing frivolous litigation related to Web site accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), filing more than ten amicus briefs, organizing several Congressional letters to the Department of Justice and securing a letter from state attorneys general to the Department of Justice;
  • Submission of a comprehensive white paper as a part of the CFPB reform process;
  • Credit unions received distributions from NCUA after CUNA was the only trade association to call for closure of the Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund;
  • Successfully advocating for FASB to delay implementation of the new CECL accounting standard;
  • Successfully advocating for NCUA to delay implementation of its Risk-Based Capital Rule and narrow its applicability;
  • Removing overdraft protection from CFPB’s rule-making agenda and slow-tracking its small business lending reporting rule; and
  • Successfully lobbing for the removal of a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2019, that would have put credit unions at a disadvantage when serving members on military bases.

Expanding Credit Union Powers

  • Successfully advocating for modernization of NCUA’s Member Business Lending (MBL) rule to exempt from the MBL cap loan participations purchased from other credit unions and loans made to one-to-four family non-owner occupied residences from the MBL cap; and
  • Working to secure funding for the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund and NCUA's Community Development Revolving Loan Fund after they were zeroed out in early appropriations legislation.

Enhancing Payment Security

  • Strongly advocating with the Federal Reserve Board to play a role in faster payments; and
  • Hosting a webinar covering Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance.

Preserving the Credit Union Tax Status

  • Defending the credit union federal income tax status when Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) asked NCUA to justify the credit union exemption from the federal income tax and urged the IRS to require federally-chartered credit unions to file annual IRS Form 990s by engaging Hatch and his staff; and
  • In response to CUNA lobbying, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) introduced a large year-end tax bill that includes a repeal of the new tax law’s tax on fringe benefits provided by tax-exempt employers.

According to Ballast Research’s Policy Brand Roundtable study, the CUNA/League system ranks number one of all associations with respect to the extent to which policymakers view us as a unified voice representing our industry.