September 12, 2023

Industry leaders cover interchange, CDFI Fund, marijuana banking, more at Caucus

Interchange PanelFollowing the kickoff ceremony to NAFCU’s 2023 Congressional Caucus and welcome remarks from NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger and CUNA President and CEO Jim Nussle – who will lead the proposed America’s Credit Unions – attendees heard from several industry leaders on topics important to credit unions.


During a panel on interchange moderated by NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler, Lake Trust Credit Union Government Affairs Manager Rebecca O’Connell, Mastercard Senior Vice President and Head of U.S. Federal Affairs Amanda Slater, and Visa Senior Vice President and Head of U.S. Government Engagement Pace Bradshaw detailed the detrimental impacts legislation to expand interchange price controls would have on consumers, credit unions, and other financial institutions.

While proponents try to argue potential benefits to the American people, Bradshaw noted “all of the studies on the first Durbin Amendment have highlighted there is no benefit to consumers.” The group also detailed the security concerns that the bill would present for financial institutions and consumers.

As credit union attendees prepare to meet with lawmakers over the course of the event, panelists encouraged them to tell the story of their members to ensure they know this isn’t “just a Washington D.C. issue, it effects their state and their constituents.” Credit unions who are not attending Caucus this year but still would like to advocate against this harmful legislation are encouraged to utilize NAFCU’s Grassroots Action Center.

WydenCU-specific issues

Following the panel, attendees heard from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a proud credit union member, about the committee’s priorities and how credit unions provide economic value to their members, communities, and the country at large. “As long as I am the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, anybody who wants to mess with your federal tax exemption is going to have to run over me,” said Wyden.

Wyden also offered support for lifting the member business lending cap to promote lending in underserved communities and the NAFCU-supported Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which will provide clarity and legal certainty at the federal level for financial institutions to provide services to marijuana-related businesses (MRBs) in states that have legalized marijuana.

Graham SteeleUp next, attendees heard from Assistant Treasury Secretary for Financial Institutions Graham Steele on Treasury’s priorities regarding innovation and financial inclusion, the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund’s continued blackout period for its application process, the Federal Reserve’s FedNow Service, and more.

Today’s agenda

NAFCU’s Congressional Caucus continues today with a variety of speakers on the agenda, including NCUA Board Chairman Todd Harper, Board Member Rodney Hood, and House Financial Services Committee member Brad Sherman, D-Calif.

During the day, a fireside chat between Nussle and NAFCU Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Greg Mesack will dive into the proposed CUNA/NAFCU merger and Nussle’s vision for the future of advocacy in the credit union industry.

In addition, NAFCU Chief Economist and Vice President of Research Curt Long will provide an update on the state of the economy.

NAFCU’s Large Credit Union Summit concludes today and will provide the opportunity for credit union leaders to meet with the NCUA and CFPB. The summit is free for credit unions over $5 billion in assets and is taking place both in-person in Washington, D.C., and virtually.

Stay tuned to NAFCU Today for additional coverage of Caucus and follow along on social media with #NAFCUCaucus.