March 03, 2021

Senate begins debate on relief package; NAFCU reiterates call to include CU tools

CapitolAhead of the Senate's consideration of the American Rescue Plan Act, NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler reiterated NAFCU’s call for several tools and flexibilities that will allow credit unions to continue to support their members and communities amid the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

The House Saturday passed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, which includes some NAFCU-supported provisions to help small businesses survive and recover from the pandemic and provide assistance to homeowners and renters. 

In the letter, sent Tuesday, Thaler highlighted several ways in which credit unions have stepped up to help their communities amid the crisis and again reiterated additional measures to support these efforts, 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
  • providing credit unions with liability protections.

Thaler also urged the Senate to consider expanding or extending several key provisions from past relief efforts, which include:

  • changes to Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs to improve access;
  • deposit insurance;
  • access to the NCUA's Central Liquidity Facility (CLF); and
  • relief from the current expected credit loss (CECL) standard.

Additionally, Thaler again cautioned against some efforts that could hinder credit unions' abilities to serve their members, including legislatively mandated blanket loan forbearance, overbroad restrictions on first-party debt collection, the elimination of courtesy pay programs, and major changes to bankruptcy provisions.

The Senate is expected to consider the bill over the next few days. NAFCU will continue to work closely with the Biden administration, Congress, and regulators to seek tools that allow credit unions and their members to recover from the pandemic and thrive. Stay tuned to NAFCU Today for updates.