NAFCU's bold advocacy achieves big wins for CUs in 2019
As 2019 comes to an end, NAFCU's bold advocacy strategy – informed by direct member feedback – achieved a number of wins for the industry throughout the year. These wins put credit unions in a strong position heading into the new year to accomplish even more.
Here's a look at some key wins:
- CECL: The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in November made final a delay to its current expected credit loss (CECL) standard, pushing credit unions' compliance date to 2023. NAFCU for years has shared credit unions' concerns about the negative impacts of CECL to FASB. The association continues to push for more guidance and relief for credit unions under the standard with the NCUA and FASB.
- RBC: In its final meeting of the year, the NCUA Board passed a final rule to delay the implementation of its risk-based capital (RBC) rule by two years to Jan. 1, 2022. NAFCU has led efforts to ensure credit unions and their members benefit from a modern capital regime, working closely with policymakers on Capitol Hill and at the NCUA.
- FOM: The NCUA and credit unions received a win from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit as its three-judge panel largely upheld the agency's 2016 field of membership (FOM) rule in a lawsuit brought by the American Bankers Association (ABA). The court earlier this month denied the ABA's request for an en banc rehearing, and the NCUA in October proposed a rule to address concerns brought by the court. NAFCU continues to support the NCUA's efforts to modernize and streamline FOM and chartering procedures.
- NDAA: The final fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) report passed by both chambers – and was subsequently signed by the president – does not include a provision that would have treated big banks the same as a military installation's local, not-for-profit credit union when it comes to nominal leases. NAFCU's advocacy against the provision began in April before work on the bill began, and the association teamed up with DCUC to share credit unions' concerns with lawmakers.
- Government funding: Congress averted a government shutdown by passing two packages that contained a dozen fiscal year 2020 spending bills. NAFCU has urged against lapses in funding to prevent harm to credit union members. Of note, the spending bills provided funding for key credit union programs, including the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF), Small Business Administration loan programs (to prevent an increase in fees which NAFCU had advocated against), and the National Flood Insurance Program.
- BSA/AML: NAFCU has actively sought Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)/anti-money laundering (AML) regime improvements and relief for credit unions. The House in October passed two bills that would reduce the burden of certain suspicious activity report (SAR) filings, index the threshold for currency transaction reports (CTRs) to inflation, improve regulatory coordination, encourage innovation in the AML system, and address beneficial ownership reporting. The association continues to urge the Senate to take up similar legislation.
- Housing finance reform: The Treasury Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development released housing finance reform plans in September, which included a number of NAFCU-sought principles. NAFCU has maintained close relationships with housing officials since the release as the Federal Housing Finance Agency has indicated it will re-propose a rule setting capital requirements for the government-sponsored enterprises, released the GSEs' strategic plan and scorecard, and reached a deal with the Treasury to allow the GSEs to retain more capital. NAFCU testified before the Senate Banking Committee in March on the issue and continues to urge legislative action.
- Robocalls: Lawmakers passed legislation aimed at expanding the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) enforcement authority over violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and requiring voice services providers to authenticate and block illegal robocalls. NAFCU is supportive of efforts to eliminate illegal robocalls, but continues to advocate protections under the TCPA to ensure credit unions can contact members with important financial information without fear of breaking the law. The TRACED Act, S. 151, awaits the president's signature.
- Growth: According to the most recent NCUA call report data, the entire credit union industry now serves 119 million Americans, with new members joining each day. As the industry has grown, so has NAFCU's base – in the past six years, NAFCU has seen its membership grow 37 percent and the association now represents 51 percent of the industry's assets. In efforts to better connect the credit union community, NAFCU launched three new member-only NAFCU networks designed to connect credit union professions to training and their peers.
- Advocacy: NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and General Counsel Carrie Hunt, and Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler were recognized as top lobbyists in 2019 by The Hill.
In addition, NAFCU secured several high-profile meetings with lawmakers, regulators, and administration officials to advocate credit unions' position on these issues and more. The association also developed forward-looking resources to ensure the industry's continued growth.
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