Credit Union Advocacy Yields Reg Reform Advances, Final Push Needed on S.2155
in Political & Legislative
By: Chris Abeel, Vice President, Corporate & Governmental Affairs

To say that March was exceptionally productive for credit unions and their members when it comes to regulatory reform advocacy would be an understatement. Legislative wins are usually few and far between, but in March, the stars seemed to align for credit union issues.

We crossed a bunch of items off of our U.S. House to-do list. Legislation was introduced to change the structure of the CFPB from a single director to a five member commission – and then the House passed both the Taking Account of Institutions with Low Operation Risk (TAILOR Act) and the Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act.

But our most significant victory occurred in the Senate, with passage of the landmark Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155), following House passage of the Financial CHOICE Act last June.

These victories wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the relentless grassroots advocacy by credit unions that included the GAC Hike the Hill just two weeks before, and the more than 50,000 messages sent to Senators in support of S.2155. I’m proud to say that New Jersey credit unions played a significant role in this effort, with responses to our calls-to-action.  

I'm fond of referring to what I call the “3P’s” of legislative advocacy – policy, politics and process – and how a successful initiative has to prevail on all three. We’ve pretty much won on the policy and politics of S. 2155. After all, how often do credit unions and community banks agree on a bill? That said, the process is the challenge facing us now, getting it final legislative approval and onto the President’s desk.

Like a ping-pong ball, S. 2155 has gone back to the House, and it is now up to them to act. House Finance Services Committee Chair Hensarling is expected to try to add additional relief provisions from his Financial CHOICE Act. But with an abbreviated election year schedule, it’s essential that the House act quickly and avoid a conference committee to reconcile differences in the two bills, a process that might derail the legislation altogether.

So today you should have received another call-to-action, this time targeted at our House delegation. It’s going to take the same level of grassroots advocacy on the House side if we’re going to get this one across the finish line before Congress recesses for the campaign season.