JUNE 13, 2014
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U.S. Senate Banking Leaders Push NCUA (Issue 1 of 5)
Senate Banking Committee leaders ask NCUA to consider carefully the negative impact its risk-based capital proposal could have on the credit unions to which it would apply.

  Reg-Relief Bills See Some Traction in House (Issue 2 of 5)
The House Financial Services Committee passes several bills that would benefit credit unions by limiting the structure and reach of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

  Cantor Congressional Upset, and How It May Impact Legislative Efforts (Issue 3 of 5)
The defeat of the U.S. House's second-ranking Republican is expected to bring legislative progress to a halt and throw open the race for House leadership, both of which could be bad news for credit union-positive bills.

  Tools for Your Credit Union (Issue 4 of 5)
Recent events illustrate that voter turnout can trump spending in runoff races, so turnout will be critical in the July 22 Georgia runoffs. The Affiliates have tools to help credit unions mobilize their membership in the election process.

  Scary Stats on Millennials and Money – CUs to the Rescue!
(Issue 5 of 5)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on a Wells Fargo poll that found metro Atlantans between ages 22 and 33 lagging behind the national average in financial savvy - an area credit unions have made a priority for members.

RockU.S. Senate Banking Leaders Push NCUA (Issue 1 of 5)

The leadership of the Senate Banking Committee has asked federal credit union regulators to carefully consider the negative impact their risk-based capital proposal could have on credit unions' agricultural lending and on the ability to raise and maintain capital levels. Sens. Tim Johnson (D-SD), the chair, and ranking member Mike Crapo (R-ID) addressed the NCUA plan that would replace existing risk-based net worth requirements with new risk-weighted asset and capital requirements. The rule would apply to federally insured "natural person" credit unions with more than $50 million in assets. 
The senators sent a letter to urge NCUA to finalize rules that are "clear, well-calibrated, and work effectively with other prudential requirements to ensure that there are no unintended consequences. NCUA should also provide clear guidance on how credit unions should plan for supervision going forward and provide sufficient time for credit unions to adjust and comply with any new standards," the legislators wrote. NCUA reports it has received more than 2,000 comment letters on the risk-based capital (RBC) plan (almost 30 of these came from Georgia).

In a response sent to 324 members of Congress who voiced concerns regarding the RBC proposal, NCUA Chair Debbie Matz indicated some of the areas in which the agency will consider changes. She noted that risk-weights, implementation time and the proposal's impact on credit markets were among issues the regulators would review carefully moving forward. Stay tuned!

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Reg-Relief Bills See Some Traction in House (Issue 2 of 5)

Capitol with cloudsThis week the House Financial Services Committee moved forward on a number of bills to create positive changes for credit unions. The bills relate to the structure and reach of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB):

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WavesCantor Congressional Upset, and How It May Impact Legislative Efforts
(Issue 3 of 6)

The national media reverberated in the evening hours of June 10th with the defeat of Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor, the second-ranking Republican in the U.S. House. The Washington Post reported that his upset by “an ill-funded, little-known tea party-backed candidate ranks as the biggest Congressional upset in modern memory and will immediately generate a series of political and policy-related shockwaves in Washington and the Richmond-area 7th district.” While there is no shortage of media story lines on how his loss impacts the rest of the races, and how the GOP and the tea party mix going forward, from a credit union perspective there are two key thoughts on how this shapes the immediate future in D.C. (regardless of political preferences):

  1. House legislative activity is expected to come to a halt. Not that Congress was moving fast with legislation before Cantor's loss, but it is expected to dry up completely as Republican members avoid doing anything that could become fodder to use against them in the many primaries yet to come this summer and fall.
  2. The internal race for Speaker is now wide open. The Washington Post and others have written about the difficulty Rep. John Boehner faces in holding on to his Speakership provided the GOP retains the majority this fall. But with the Cantor “heir apparent” loss, all bets are off, and it will become a free-for-all race to lead the House Republicans in 2015. Rep. Tom Price of Georgia had been rumored as a possible candidate for Speaker, but he announced on June 12 that he would not seek the post.

With many in Congress focused on the above two points, that leaves little room for legislative give and take – the compromise that moves many legislative initiatives forward. For any bill that would be positive for the credit union industry (such as the above regulatory relief measures) this is a not a hurdle but rather a “high jump.” And from a lobbying perspective, it can be difficult to push or prevent bills, as knowing who your legislative “stop gates” are, and who’s in charge, is essential.

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ToolsTools for Your Credit Union (Issue 4 of 5)

Credit unions around the state have engaged in the elections, and are working to shape the course of the July 22nd runoffs. Not involved yet? There is a wide variety of tools available for your credit union; please use of one or all of the resources to create a specific strategy to reach out to membership. And it is this action, encouraging members to simply vote in the July 22nd runoff, that is valuable to legislators and builds credit union influence. Why? The May 20th primaries had a dismal level of voter turnout, and the runoff is anticipated to be worse. And it is clear (see article above) that whoever can get the most people back to the polls can win a race – against even the most well-funded opponent. Credit unions have the opportunity to make a difference in the elections by encouraging members to vote using the tools available on ElectionWatch:

  • Newsletter articles to insert on the importance of voting, and building general awareness of the elections.
  • Social media messages to weave into your credit union’s Twitter or Facebook rotation.
  • Lobby posters to have an orchestrated visual of encouraging members to vote.
  • On-hold messages to rotate on your credit union’s voicemail system – powerful the week leading up to an election.

One of the easiest methods to engage your membership is to place ElectionWatch on your credit union website; by doing so your members have access to voter registration, poll locations, sample ballots, and various political resources.

Doing these things and ready to take it to the next level? Credit unions can get involved deeper by sharing which candidates in the runoff are credit union supporters. To obtain ready-made inserts for your newsletters, please click here.

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Piggy bankScary Stats on Millennials and Money –
CUs to the Rescue! (Issue 5 of 5)

On June 11th The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on a Wells Fargo poll regarding millennials and their money-savings habits:

  • 48 percent of Atlantans are saving for retirement; that lags the 55 percent national average.
  • 53 percent cannot estimate the amount of money needed to live in retired comfort, higher than the national 40 percent.
  • 51 percent (!) think cashing out a retirement account is OK after losing a job, compared to 38 percent nationally.

In a nutshell, the results show that those in Atlanta lag behind national levels of savings savvy,  something that credit unions can (and do) help instill in their members. Credit unions make a difference in the financial well-being of others, and equip their young members with the tools they need to afford life. While getting people to engage in financial education can be difficult, the value of these efforts is immeasurable.

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