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.

“From historic bipartisan votes to victories in court that will help credit unions increase their service to communities, none of what we’ve accomplished this year would have been possible without consistent, fierce, bold 360-degree advocacy from CUNA, our Leagues and credit unions,” said CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan. “We made our voices heard, and most importantly, people listened, resulting in a better operating environment for credit unions than existed even 12 months ago. This year serves as a blueprint about what can be accomplished when the credit union system speaks as one voice, and it’s put us into position to go even further in 2020.”

Legislative victories include:

  • The historic, bipartisan passage of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act by the House, which followed CUNA’s testimony in support of the bill. CUNA also testified before the Senate Banking Committee on behalf of the bill (the first financial services trade association to testify in support of the bill before both chambers of Congress);
  • Successfully defending credit unions’ presence on military installations by fighting for removal of a provision that would have expanded an exemption to banks in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA);
  • House passage of a bill that would take the first meaningful steps to update the Bank Secrecy Act statutory framework in decades; and
  • Working with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on a revised Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) reform bill that does not place credit unions under the authority of the CRA.

Regulatory victories include:

  • The delay of implementation of the current expected credit loss (CECL) standard to 2023;
  • NCUA agreeing to delay implementation of its risk-based capital rule to January 2022;
  • NCUA issuing a CUNA-requested rule on raising the threshold for real estate loan appraisals;
  • NCUA issuing guidance on how to serve hemp businesses;
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposing to raise the remittances threshold; and
  • The CFPB finalizing a delay of the underwriting provisions in its payday lending rule.

Legal victories include:

  • The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding NCUA’s field-of-membership rule and the court denying the American Bankers Association’s petition for an en banc rehearing;
  • Wins in the Fourth, Sixth and Seventh Circuit Courts of Appeals in frivolous lawsuits claiming violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. CUNA joined with leagues in states covered by those circuits to file briefs in support of credit unions. These decisions create precedent in their respective circuits; and
  • Wendy’s agreeing to a $50 million settlement in the data breach lawsuit that resulted in credit unions being forced to reissue payment cards.