By Micheal Fryzel
The National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) are the two organizations that represent credit unions in the United States, both federal and state chartered, in Washington. Recently, both praised the efforts of their member credit unions for their role in getting members of Congress to pass the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act better known as S. 2155.
S. 2155 provided significant regulatory relief for credit unions relating to member business loans, risk based net worth, appraisals, mortgage disclosures, safe harbor provisions and other areas as well. It amended numerous laws and was looked upon by all financial service providers as a much needed step in the right direction.
CUNA and NAFCU correctly pointed out that the passage of that legislation was achieved through the efforts of credit unions meeting with their congressmen and senators. They had a story to tell, told it in a way that Congress understood and clearly convinced the lawmakers of the importance of S.2155 to the continued growth and health of credit unions. It didn’t take a village but rather a community to get the job done. The community of credit unions came together and achieved a major accomplishment for the good of all.
On Point and Well Deserved
The accolades about the efforts of the “community” were on point and well deserved. Both NAFCU and CUNA should be acknowledged for the effort they made having their staffs’ camp out on Capitol Hill as well as making sure that the representatives of individual credit unions also made the hike. The achievement in getting S. 2155 passed will be listed along with the success of credit unions passing HR 1151 and coming together to save their industry during the crisis they faced in 2008.
But everyone knows you can rest on your laurels for only a short time. When there are other challenges staring you in the face you must meet them head on if your successes are to continue.
Credit unions, banks, money transmitters and everyone else involved in the financial services sector face their next challenge on November 6, 2018. All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate are up for election on that day.
In many of those races we already know who the winner will be. Some incumbents may not have a challenger or represent a district so safe for their party that they won’t have to spend much time, energy or money to be elected. In some districts the elections are considered to be so close that even the political pundits are not prepared to predict a winner.
Why It Matters
Why is all this important to financial service providers and credit unions specifically? Simply put, the outcome of the election could change the balance of power in Congress and in turn impact the legislative success credit unions have enjoyed the last two years. It could also stop the progress that has been made towards additional regulatory reform and relief.
Should the individuals who have supported the efforts of the Administration and the heads of its regulatory agencies in providing a better way to do business lose their seats, all that could quickly change. The words “relief” and “reform” may not soon again be heard and the biggest challenge may become keeping what has been changed and improved.
Answer the Call
So, in order for progress to continue, in order for credit unions to be able to provide the financial services they need and in order for all financial service providers to continue to enjoy a friendly business environment, CUNA, NAFCU and all credit unions must once again answer the call to battle.
Regardless of political affiliation, the individuals who will ensure the continued growth and success of credit unions must be put in office. The success of the last two years should not be looked upon as being enough. It was a great start but much more is possible.
S. 2155 was the beginning; 11/6/18 is the next number of significance. The “community” must once again step up and do its part in keeping the dream alive.
Michael Fryzel is a former NCUA chairman and board member now in private practice in Chicago.