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.

Warren released a revised version of her housing legislation Wednesday, and unlike the version introduced in the last Congress, this would not place credit unions under the Community Reinvestment Act.

“While regulators talk openly about how “disappointed” they are in the nation’s biggest banks, lawmakers time and again see the way that credit unions step up to the plate to keep folks on their feet through the toughest of times, and they continue to put their faith in us,” Donovan wrote. “That is no more apparent than in the bill that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced in the Senate…which is nothing short of one of the nation’s most pro-regulation policymakers recognizing all of the amazing good that credit unions provide to historically disadvantaged and underserved communities.”

Instead of placing credit unions under the CRA, Warren’s bill would set into law NCUA’s policies and guidance regarding home lending.

“We worked with the Senator’s office, and those of her co-sponsors, to show the many ways that credit unions have been fulfilling requirements to support underserved communities for decades,” Donovan wrote. “This 360-degree advocacy paid off: After months of engaging with these offices, these lawmakers realized that subjecting credit unions to CRA requirements would require them to shift resources away from increasing access to responsible financial products to satisfy these additional compliance demands.

“They realized that this would frustrate, rather than benefit, the very borrowers they were seeking to uplift,” he added.

This also led to a House companion bill being introduced by Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.).

“To put the cherry on top of this resounding advocacy success, Warren and Richmond’s bills were introduced just as the CUNA GAC shifted from the close of our formal programming to the start of our Hill hikes,” Donovan wrote. “For the more than 5,200 advocates who are leaving the nation’s biggest credit union conference to meet with lawmakers, the message couldn’t be clearer: From the phenomenal work done at their lending desk to the miles they walk here in Washington, D.C., credit union action is making all the difference in the ways we operate and the ways we continue to serve our communities. That is the credit union difference.”