WASHINGTON – The Senate has voted in favor of several pieces of legislation that include provisions backed by CUs.
First, the Senate has passed the 2019 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill as a part of the Appropriations Minibus Act (H.R. 6147).
The legislation includes funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, as well as NCUA’s revolving loan fund.
The bill would also provide a funding level of $2 million for the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CFRLF). The CDRLF, a revolving loan and technical assistance program, gives credit unions the ability to serve underserved communities.
CUNA noted that the bill’s additional funding includes:
- A loan volume cap of $30 billion for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 7(a) program, which allows the government to guarantee up to 85% of loans, with the guaranteed portion not counting against credit unions’ cap on member business lending; and this amount is $1 billion more than Fiscal Year 2018’s enacted level of $29 billion
- A loan volume cap of $7.5 billion for the SBA’s 504 loan program, which is used for long-term, fixed-rate financing on major fixed assets, such as equipment and real estate
“NAFCU appreciates and supports the Senate’s efforts to fully and appropriately fund the CDFI Fund, NCUA's Community Development Revolving Loan Fund and SBA loan programs important to credit unions," said Brad Thaler, VP-legislative affairs at NAFCU, following the vote. "NAFCU also remains laser-focused on bringing about much needed regulatory relief to credit unions. In particular, we will continue to push for a delay of the NCUA’s risk-based capital rule, among other provisions included in the House version. As the House and Senate finalize funding for the upcoming year, we hope that they will fully fund programs important to credit unions while also advancing important regulatory relief measures.”
“We thank the Senate for passing the bill, and for the attention of Senate appropriators to call for full funding for several important funds that credit unions are able to leverage to better serve their members and communities,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle.
The House approved its FSGG bill (H.R. 6174) last week.
Defense Authorization Act
Meanwhile, the Senate has voted in favor of a conference report that does not include a provision that would have harmed military credit unions under the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). As a result, credit unions will continue to receive exemption from costs associated to the furnishing of office space and/or land (including ATM placement) on military bases – as governed by Section 124 of the Federal Credit Union Act.
Both credit union trade associations had advocated in favor of including the language after an early draft of the definition of "insured depository institutions" excluded credit unions.
"We thank both chambers for considering our concerns and removing this unclear language from the NDAA," said Nussle. "We will continue to be vigilant to ensure credit unions in military communities can continue to provide safe and affordable products to help meet the needs of our country's servicemen and women."
Added NAFCU’s Thaler, “We are pleased to see the NDAA bill advance without a provision that would have granted banks an unfair competitive advantage by allowing them to sidestep the regulatory requirements that credit unions are subjected to when serving members of our armed forces on military bases. We are confident credit unions will continue to provide exemplary service to America’s men and women in uniform.”