The Second Session of the 115th Congress begins this week when the Senate returns to Washington to swear in new Members of Congress. The House will return next week to resume its legislative business.

The Senate will convene tomorrow at noon to swear in new senators and consider executive nominations. No significant committee activity has been announced.

In the states, legislative bodies in 14 states and the District of Columbia will convene this week. In the coming weeks, legislatures will convene in 46 states.

Credit Unions’ 2018 Advocacy Agenda
While Congress and the administration get back to work, I wanted to take some time to outline the credit union advocacy agenda for 2018. This isn’t an agenda that has been cooked up here in Washington. It’s an agenda that has been developed with the input, feedback and guidance of credit union leaders from across the country.

The foundation for our 2018 agenda is a new, bold advocacy goal: to revolutionize the operating environment for credit unions.

We seek to achieve this goal by:

  • Reducing regulatory burden so that credit union members have access to more efficient and affordable financial services from credit unions.
  • Expanding and protecting credit union powers so consumers and small businesses can more easily access the credit union services they need and demand.
  • Enhancing payment security to reduce the impact that merchant data breaches have on credit unions and their members.
  • Preserving the credit union tax status so that credit union members continue to enjoy not-for-profit cooperative financial services.

Working with our League partners, we have taken steps in this advocacy agenda to incorporate state advocacy priorities to help drive our nation-wide agenda.

Reduce Regulatory Burden

In Washington, we will seek to advance our vision for the CFPB under new leadership. We want the CFPB to fix the burdensome rules it has implemented over the last several years and to slow the pace of new rules. We also want the CFPB to transfer supervisory authority of the very large credit unions back to NCUA, retain the Credit Union Advisory Council and make broader and deeper use of its existing exemption authority.

In the states, CUNA stands ready to work with leagues in states where attorneys-general and legislatures may try to implement overly burdensome regulations.

Expand and Protect Credit Union Powers

Working with CUNA’s Credit Union Powers Subcommittee, we are preparing legislation to modernize the Federal Credit Union Act. We will continue to encourage NCUA to allow credit unions to use supplemental capital to comply with the risk-based capital proposal, using this as a pilot for additional supplemental capital authority. And we want to work with Congress to find a fix for the government sponsored enterprises that retains access to the secondary market for credit unions.

In the states, we will work with Leagues to pursue legislation that puts more competitive pressures on the federal charter including interstate branching legislation and field of membership modernization.

Enhance Payment Security

We will continue to pursue legislation to subject merchants to strong data security and data breach notification requirements, and we will continue to work with policymakers to strengthen the cyber infrastructure to protect consumer data from attack. Importantly, we will continue to aggressively pursue entities that have allowed consumer data to be exposed in court, as we did successfully in the Home Depot case and as we are currently in the Equifax case.

Across the country, we will work with leagues that pursue data security legislation in their state capitols with the hopes that the pressure that can be put on them in the states will help us advance legislation in Washington.

Preserve the Credit Union Tax Status

Preserving the credit union tax status in the recently enacted tax reform law was an enormous victory for credit unions and their members, but we must not let our guard down. We expect that there will be an effort to enact technical corrections in 2018 which could once again put our status at risk; and, we know that the bankers are working in several states to tax credit unions.

Read the full Washington Wire here.