JULY 25, 2014
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Polling place stickers Primary Runoff Recap (Issue 1 of 6)
Two candidates supported by the credit union industry won their races in this week's runoff elections and will go on to compete in the general election this fall.

 
     
  Making a Difference: Credit Union Phone Bank Night
(Issue 2 of 6)

Phone-bank volunteers from three Georgia credit unions and the Affiliates made more than 1,300 calls during a two-hour session, helping one candidate win his runoff race by a narrow margin.

 
  Federal Patent-Troll Bill Starts to Move (Issue 3 of 6)
A U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee moved forward a draft bill that would crack down on patent trolls, sending the legislation on to the full House Energy and Commerce Committee.

 
  Navigating Four Years of Dodd-Frank (Issue 4 of 6)
The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing to examine specific provisions and the cumulative impact of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was enacted in 2010.

 
  Potential Areas of Change for Risk-Based Capital Rule
(Issue 5 of 6)

NCUA Chair Debbie Matz said the agency received "many valid questions and concerns" about its risk-based capital proposal at three recent "listening sessions" and expects NCUA to make "appropriate changes."

 
  Credit Unions to Reach 100 Million Members (Issue 6 of 6)
Efforts are under way to celebrate the fact that the number of U.S. credit union members is expected to reach 100 million this year, including 2 million in the state of Georgia.

 
 
 
VotersPrimary Runoff Recap
(Issue 1 of 6)

This week the airwaves, mailboxes, websites and social media were all focused on one thing: the primary runoffs. As anticipated, voter turnout was low; the highest profile race, for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, garnered less than 500,000 votes total, and many of the races were decided by thin margins. Each race has various factors of what made a difference, but regardless elections are won based on who can simply get people out to vote – something that can be difficult in a runoff during the middle of summer. From a credit union perspective, six races in the runoff were supported:

Federal:

  • Buddy Carter, 1st District (R);
  • Mike Collins, 10th District (R);
  • Bob Barr, 11th District (R);
  • Jack Kingston, U.S. Senate (R);

State:

  • P.K. Martin, 9th State Senate District-Lawrenceville area (R),
  • Jack Murphy, 27th State Senate District-Cumming area (R).

We are pleased to see that both Carter and Martin advanced to the November general election. Credit union volunteers made almost 1,300 calls last week to get out the vote for Martin, and his margin of victory over the projected favorite was around 900 votes (see below related article).

Credit unions were very active in the Collins race, supporting a credit union board member. While his race came up short, the efforts of the industry were significant to his campaign and noticed outside of his circle of supporters. While losses are disappointing, the level of credit union engagement is not – influence is built on being involved. It is important to support those candidates who support credit unions, and credit union activity helped advance even the losses closer to the finish line. Thank you all for your work in getting out the vote, supporting candidates, and participating in campaign activity. You truly make a difference. While the outcome of being involved is unpredictable, the end result is worth the effort – building the influence credit unions have in the political arena.

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Making a Difference: Credit Union Phone Bank Night (Issue 2 of 6)

On Thursday, July 17th more than 20 credit union individuals made get-out-the-vote calls to help support P.K. Martin in his race for state Senate. Martin now advances to the general election after a tough runoff. Thank you to the credit union volunteers from Associated CU, Atlanta Postal CU, Peach State FCU and GCUA staff, as well as a big thank you to Peach State FCU for volunteering their space and phones for the night. The group generated almost 1,300 calls, 900 of which were direct contacts to individuals in the district. Impressive results from two hours of phone-banking!

Phone bank volunteersThe calls had a direct impact on this race: Martin’s margin of victory was less than 900 votes that separated him from his opponent (previous Gwinnett County Commissioner Mike Beaudreau). Martin was supported by the industry due to his personal connection with credit unions, close ties to Peach State FCU, and firsthand understanding of how the industry helps people afford life. In May, he edged out incumbent State Sen. Don Balfour (R-Snellville) to advance to the runoff behind Beaudreau, who had garnered the most votes back in the primary (but still less than 50% which required the runoff).

Credit unions truly made a difference in this election advancing Martin to a win, something he credits to the industry, and he is appreciative of their support. When his victory was on the verge of actuality, Martin shared that the calls credit unions made helped push him over the edge to a win. If he is elected in November, credit unions will have grown the number of strong industry supporters in the state legislature!

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U.S. CapitolFederal Patent Troll Bill Starts to Move (Issue 3 of 6)

The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade advanced a draft of a federal patent- troll bill on Thursday, July 17th in another attempt by the House to move the issue forward. The Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters (TROL) Act of 2014 would crack down on unfair or deceptive practices in connection with the assertion of a U.S. patent. The bill would:

  • prohibit communications where the sender falsely represents that they have the right to enforce the patent;
  • prohibit attempts to seek compensation for an unenforceable patent claim; and
  • require proof of identity from the person asserting the right to the patent, and proof that the patent has been infringed upon.

Georgia passed state-level patent-troll legislation in the 2014 state legislative session, and credit unions have been working in D.C. to advocate for meaningful patent reform on a federal level. The bill is now sent to the full House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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TightropeNavigating Four Years of Dodd-Frank
(Issue 4 of 6)

The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on July 23rd to examine specific provisions and the cumulative impact of the Dodd-Frank Act. Signed into law by on July 21, 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was a response to the financial crisis that began in 2008.

The Dodd-Frank Act created approximately 35 new rules that affect credit unions. Throughout the legislative process, credit unions, Leagues and CUNA have worked to minimize the legislation's regulatory burden on credit unions, reminding lawmakers that credit unions did not cause the problems that the Dodd-Frank Act was intended to address. 

The hearing, titled "Assessing the Impact of the Dodd-Frank Act Four Years Later," explored such provisions as the Volcker Rule, Orderly Liquidation Authority and consumer financial protection. The House Financial Services Committee also released a 97-page report this week examining the impact Dodd-Frank Act titled “Failing to End ‘Too Big to Fail’. ” The report references how the new regulatory burdens are disproportionate to credit unions and community banks as compared to large banks.

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Potential Areas of Change for Risk-Based Capital Rule (Issue 5 of 6)
Boutwell and Matz
Marshall Boutwell, right, CEO of Peach State FCU, discusses risk-based capital with NCUA Chair Debbie Matz in Chicago.

With three “listening sessions” completed, NCUA affirmed on July 21st that its next steps will include incorporating comments from the more 400 participants who attended. The agency's risk-based capital (RBC) proposal was the primary topic of discussion at the sessions held in Los Angeles, Chicago and Alexandria, but examinations and the role of small credit unions were also addressed. 
 
NCUA reported that "only 3% of credit unions would experience a change in Prompt Corrective Action status" under the proposal. Credit unions, leagues and CUNA have expressed concern that several hundred credit unions would find themselves uncomfortably close to PCA thresholds, and would collectively need to raise between $3 billion and $4.5 billion in additional capital to restore previous margins above those thresholds. A GCUA letter to NCUA expressed the above, and urged expansion of the implementation period to allow more time for credit unions.

NCUA Chair Debbie Matz said the "many valid questions and concerns" received at the sessions will be added to the more than 2,000 comment letters received as the agency considers changes to its RBC proposal. "We are listening carefully, and I anticipate the agency will make appropriate changes," she said. "For starters, we plan to lower the risk weights on investments, mortgages, member business loans, credit union service organizations and corporates, as well as extend the implementation period."

Matz said NCUA will review the best way to address material interest rate risk in the Prompt Corrective Action framework as the Federal Credit Union Act requires, while evaluating whether more emphasis should be placed on the supervisory process rather than on risk weights in the final rule. According to NCUA, the final rule will make clear that only the NCUA board, not any individual credit union examiner, can make a determination about whether a specific credit union needs to hold more capital.

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100 millionCredit Unions to Reach 100 Million Members
(Issue 6 of 6)

This year, credit unions nationwide will hit the 100 million member mark, with Georgia credit unions projected to grow to 2 million members! Efforts are under way to help celebrate the number of credit union members around the country at www.americascreditunions.org. This is an event that only comes around once; watch for avenues and opportunities to engage your credit union. Curious what 100 million actually looks like? Check out the state stats, as well as the “selfie-wall” on the above website!

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