December 20, 2019

Berger, on Hill, thanks lawmakers for CU support

Berger, Speier, Hernandez
NAFCU's Dan Berger (left) and DCUC's Tony Hernandez thanked Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., Thursday for her support of credit unions throughout NDAA negotiations.

NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger and the NAFCU lobbying team were on Capitol Hill Thursday as members were wrapping up their work for the year to thank key lawmakers for their support of credit unions. Over the course of the year, NAFCU-led advocacy efforts resulted in several bipartisan measures in support of credit unions being introduced.

Some of the big wins for credit unions this year:

  • NDAA: The final conference report for the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) stripped a credit union-opposed provision that would have treated big banks, such as Wells Fargo, the same as a military installation's local, not-for-profit credit unions when it came to nominal leases. NAFCU's efforts to educate lawmakers on this harmful provision began in April, and the association teamed up with the Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC) to advocate against its inclusion. DCUC President and CEO Tony Hernandez joined Berger on the Hill yesterday, and the two specifically thanked House Armed Services Subcommittee Chairwoman Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and House Armed Services Subcommittee Chairman John Garamendi, D-Calif., who spearheaded a bipartisan letter urging the NDAA conference committee to remove the provision before finalizing the bill. Both chambers have passed the bill; it awaits the president's signature.
  • Hernandez, Garamendi, Berger
    Berger (right) and Hernandez (left) also met with Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., Thursday.
    MBL: Bipartisan legislation to exclude veterans' loans from the statutory credit union member business loan cap was introduced in both the House and Senate this year. House Financial Services Committee Members Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, and Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Reps. Paul Cook, R-Calif., and Don Young, R-Alaska, and Sens. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, led the efforts. NAFCU has long sought relief for credit unions from the arbitrary member business lending cap, and this legislation will improve veterans' access to capital.
  • BSA/AML: The House passed NAFCU-sought legislation that would help modernize Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and anti-money laundering (AML) requirements, along with allowing financial institutions to access important beneficial ownership information about companies they serve. The association continues to urge the Senate to advance similar legislation, sending a letter this week in support of the ILLICIT CASH Act (S. 2563) and efforts to reform BSA/AML requirements to reduce credit unions' compliance burden.
  • Loan maturity: House Financial Services Committee Members Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., and Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, introduced NAFCU-sought legislation that would give the NCUA greater flexibility in setting loan maturity limits under the Federal Credit Union Act. NAFCU has long advocated for credit unions to have flexibility with respect to loan maturity limits and continues to work to have companion legislation introduced in the Senate.

In addition to getting legislation introduced on these issues, a number of NAFCU priorities – including housing finance reform, data security, and the current expected credit loss (CECL) standard – garnered attention on Capitol Hill. NAFCU, in congressional testimony, shared credit unions' perspective on Small Business Administration loan programs, housing finance reform, and minority depository institutions.