September 10, 2019

Berger opens Caucus with call to action

NAFCU's Dan Berger provided a Washington update to credit unions to kick off NAFCU's Congressional Caucus Monday. (Photo by Greg Dohler)

NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger kicked off the association's 2019 Congressional Caucus with an in-depth Washington update for the hundreds of credit union representatives in town to advocate for credit union priorities. He also discussed the state of the industry, growth opportunities and economic trends.

"NAFCU derives its power from the men and women in this room," Berger told attendees Monday morning. "You are our messengers and the stories that you tell on Capitol Hill are incredibly powerful."

To start, Berger outlined a number of issues NAFCU and credit unions must remain vigilant on, including those related to taxes and NAFCU's efforts to preserve the credit union tax exemption, Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) reforms and the association's commitment to defending the industry against banker attacks and educate lawmakers and others on the credit union difference.

Berger then explained current legislative and regulatory efforts, including:

  • Housing finance reform: Last week, the Trump administration released plans from the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development aimed at reforming the government-sponsored enterprises and the housing finance system in general. NAFCU has led credit union advocacy on this issue and will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure credit unions' priorities are addressed.

  • Current expected credit loss (CECL) standard: NAFCU's advocacy efforts have achieved some relief for credit unions under the standard, including a likely delay in compliance until 2023. Even with the delay, Berger encouraged credit unions to prepare to comply; NAFCU has numerous resources available.

  • Fintech: A new NAFCU whitepaper charts a path forward for regulatory coordination in order to achieve an even playing field between traditional financial institutions and fintech companies. The association has advocated for such parity to ensure proper oversight of fintech while allowing credit unions to innovate.

  • Data privacy and data security: Stressing that retailers and merchants should be held accountable for data breaches, Berger reiterated NAFCU's call for a national data security standard and encouraged credit unions to share how they – and their members – are impacted by breaches. Federal and state lawmakers are looking closely at ways to ensure consumers' personally identifiable information is protected.

  • Marijuana banking: Committees in both the House and Senate have discussed this issue, with the House Financial Services Committee advancing legislation (H.R. 1595) that would create a safe harbor for financial institutions that provide services to marijuana-related businesses. Relatedly, the NCUA recently released interim guidance on providing services to hemp businesses. Tomorrow, Caucus attendees will learn more during a panel discussion on the issue.

He also touched on current legislative efforts to give the NCUA greater flexibility in setting loan maturity limits under the Federal Credit Union Act, exclude veterans' loans from the statutory credit union members business loan cap and reform the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)/anti-money laundering (AML) regime, as well as the NCUA's examination focus on cybersecurity.

These issues and more will be discussed throughout the week at Caucus by administration officials, lawmakers, representatives from regulatory agencies during sessions and credit unions' face-to-face meetings. More information can be found in NAFCU's Grassroots Action Center and in the Caucus mobile app. Stay tuned to NAFCU Today and follow #NAFCUCaucus on Twitter for conference updates.