NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger and other senior staff briefed member credit unions on tax reform, regulatory relief legislation and other developments affecting the industry during the association's year-end member call-in Wednesday.
Of note are expectations for 2018 distribution from the share insurance fund and efforts to get some relief as a Jan. 1, 2019, compliance deadline nears under the CFPB's revised Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) rule.
Berger highlighted recent wins NAFCU and the industry have achieved at the federal level, including keeping the NCUA out of the congressional appropriations process, exempting credit union payday alternative loans from the CFPB's final payday lending rule and protecting the credit union tax exemption as Congress strives to complete a deal on tax reform.
"There is a lot more work to do on your behalf, but we're very optimistic about the opportunities," Berger told members. "NAFCU wouldn't be No. 1 in advocacy without your engagement and support."
From a broad advocacy perspective, NAFCU Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and General Counsel Carrie Hunt outlined NAFCU's strategic plan for achieving a positive environment for credit unions to grow. The association's five tenets of a healthy and appropriate regulatory environment "overlay all advocacy efforts," she said.
Hunt also touched on pending litigation that could impact credit unions, including frivolous lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the rightful interim director of the CFPB and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler detailed Congress's ongoing tax reform efforts, including the announcement Wednesday that a deal had been reached, and the next steps on reform.
Thaler also noted that the House and Senate have both made progress on regulatory relief. Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee advanced legislation that would repeal the NCUA's risk-based capital rule, and the Senate Banking Committee last week advanced bipartisan legislation that would provide relief under the member business loan (MBL) cap.
Looking ahead, Thaler said tax reform and government funding will be the main priorities in the coming weeks. Next year, legislation to create a national data security standard is likely to be introduced, as well as additional Congressional focus on the ADA and TCPA to address credit unions' concerns.
NAFCU Director of Regulatory Affairs Alexander Monterrubio reiterated NAFCU's support of the appointment of Mick Mulvaney as acting director of the CFPB. One issue Mulvaney is actively evaluating is HMDA, though Monterrubio said a delay in the rule is unlikely at this point; the compliance deadline is Jan. 1. He suggested the CFPB may pursue an "aggressive non-enforcement" approach to HMDA supervision in 2018 and could also urge other regulators to do the same. The bureau is unlikely to pursue an overdraft rule in 2018, he said.
Monterrubio also previewed tomorrow's NCUA Board meeting and said the agency's 2018 supervisory priorities will likely be unchanged from this year, with cybersecurity and Bank Secrecy Act compliance remaining on the list.
A fast growing concern for many credit unions is litigation risk under the ADA, said NAFCU Vice President of Regulatory Compliance Brandy Bruyere. Bruyere noted that NAFCU has been active on multiple fronts to address uncertainties for website accessibility under the law. According to Bruyere, credit unions receiving a demand letter should take steps such as notifying the institution's insurer and own counsel, auditing the website for any potential issues and reaching out to NAFCU for available assistance.
Bruyere also discussed HMDA compliance, recent fixes to the Truth in Lending/Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act integrated mortgage rule (TRID) and new guidance from the Department of Defense on the Military Lending Act.
One of the biggest issues for the credit union industry this year was the NCUA's decision to close the Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund (TCCUSF) and merge it with the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF). NAFCU Chief Economist Curt Long said the agency is likely to know in March or April how much money will be available for an NCUSIF refund in 2018, but the amount could be impacted by unforeseen changes to NCUSIF reserves. He also noted that the NCUA is still deliberating how to assign refunds to credit unions based on assessments paid to the TCCUSF.
Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee raised interest rates and released an adjusted 2018 outlook that is more optimistic. Long said current Fed Chair Janet Yellen attributes that optimism to tax reform efforts. The NCUA also released is third-quarter call report data, which shows continued, positive trends in the industry, Long said.