March 25, 2021

NAFCU's Thaler calls on Senate Banking Committee to consider necessary CU tools


Ahead of today's Senate Banking Committee hearing to discuss the implementation of the American Rescue Plan and the coronavirus pandemic, NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler called on the committee to consider several tools to help credit unions serve their members as the nation works toward recovery from the crisis.

In the letter sent Wednesday, Thaler reiterated the association’s call for the extension or expansion of key provisions from past relief efforts, including the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) paycheck protection program and 7(a) loan program, parity in deposit insurance provisions, making permanent changes to increase access to the NCUA's Central Liquidity Facility (CLF); and relief from the current expected credit loss (CECL) standard.

Thaler also outlined several measures that would assist credit unions as they continue to step up to help their communities amid the crisis, including:

  • capital flexibility under the Federal Credit Union (FCU) Act similar to what banks were provided in the CARES Act;
  • additional investment authorities for federal credit unions;
  • relief under the member business lending (MBL) cap;
  • extending credit unions' loan maturity limits under the FCU Act;
  • allowing all credit unions to add underserved areas to their fields of membership;
  • modernizing the E-SIGN Act; and
  • protecting credit unions with liability protections.

NAFCU will monitor the hearing, slated to begin at 10 a.m. Eastern. The hearing will be available via livestream.

Relatedly, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testified before the committee Wednesday to provide their quarterly CARES Act report to Congress. NAFCU reiterated the credit union perspective ahead of the hearing.

During the hearing, several members of the committee called for the Treasury Department to expediently release FAQs regarding allotment of local and state funding included in the American Rescue Plan Act.

In addition, Powell noted the Fed is monitoring community bank leverage ratios due to increased deposits and stated the Fed will communicate any changes to the Community Bank Leverage Ratio (CBLR) ahead of time.

Also today, the Senate is expected to vote on legislation to delay the PPP loan application deadline to May 31 and allow the SBA to continue processing applications for 30 days after that date. NAFCU – after raising concerns about the amount of loans backlogged due to hold codes and calling on the SBA to clear the codes before the program ends – shared how this bill could help address concerns.

The association will continue to work with Congress to ensure credit unions have the tools needed to provide support for their members amid the pandemic.