From September 10-12, the credit union industry will have all eyes on the NAFCU Congressional Caucus, the year’s biggest credit union advocacy event, where credit union supporters meet with lawmakers directly to discuss credit union needs, concerns, and priorities.
During this time, NAFCU’s advocacy team is hard at work. Ahead of the caucus, NAFCU’s Regulatory, Legislative, and Cybersecurity Committees have outlined several key risks to credit unions they were aiming to address during the three-day event. The list included:
- CFPB attacks on credit union non-interest income
- Leveling the playing field with unregulated FinTechs
- Bank attacks on our tax exemption
- Increasing risk of redundant new laws on privacy
- Government takeover of small business lending
The first day of the conference consisted of a networking breakfast, an opening address from NAFCU and CUNA leaders, keynote addresses on the current state of politics, speakers from Congress, and a meeting with lawmakers.
Despite not being on the list of major topics, the proposed NAFCU/CUNA merger was a highlight at the opening of the conference, as CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussel and NAFCU President/CEO Dan Berger took to the stage to address the new entity, America’s Credit Unions. The new trade group, which would be led by Nussel, does not signify a lack of strength in the industry, the two emphasized, but rather that consolidation of credit unions had made two large trade groups unnecessary.
Berger had echoed these sentiments as voting began back in August, noting that the time was right and that with industry numbers dipping below 5,000 credit unions, the two trade groups could not both be sustained.
Later in the day, credit unions’ tax exemption status was discussed. Finance Committee Chairman Senator Ron Wyden, leading Senate Democrat on the Joint Committee on Taxation, spoke to attendees and assured them that said status was under his protection. “As long as I’m the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee,” said Wyden, “anyone who wants to touch the credit union tax exemption is going to have to run over me.”
Wyden also sympathized with credit unions and their frustration over the lack of concrete legislation protecting credit unions that serve cannabis accounts. Wyden noted that this oversight “defied common sense.”
Today, the third and final day of the event, the NAFCU Annual Awards Recognition Ceremony will take place along with more meetings with lawmakers followed by a Congressional Reception. To learn more about the Congressional Caucus, visit the NAFCU’s page for the event.