OCTOBER 31, 2014
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Election Day: November 4th, with Four
CU Volunteers on the Ballot (Issue 1 of 6)

The field of candidates for the Georgia Legislature in next week's election includes three credit union board members and one associate board member.

  Credit Union Members Plan to Make Their Voices Heard
(Issue 2 of 6)

GCUA's midyear consumer survey reveals that a large number of respondents plan to vote in next week's election, and that for a sizable majority, a candidate's stance on credit union issues will influence how they vote.

  GA Legislators Consider Tax Reform, Debt Settlement
(Issue 3 of 6)

State lawmakers continued to hold pre-session hearings in recent days, on topics including proposals to overhaul Georgia's tax system and how to let debt settlement companies operate in the state.

  Growing Legislative Influence in Gainesville (Issue 4 of 6)
Representatives of three Georgia credit unions met recently with state Sen. Butch Miller of Gainesville to discuss the industry and legislative issues, and to enhance awareness of how credit unions help people afford life.

  NCUA on 2nd Comment Period for RBC Plan (Issue 5 of 6)
NCUA's chair said the second comment period for the agency's proposed risk-based capital rule will offer new insights into the proposal's framework and implementation.

  What Congress Has Done in One Quick Snapshot (Issue 6 of 6)
Washington newspaper Politico published a pictorial document showing what the U.S. Congress has been doing for the past 22 months, aside from practicing partisan politics.

PumpkinsElection Day: November 4th, with Four CU Volunteers
on the Ballot (Issue 1 of 6)

Hundreds of thousands of Georgians have cast their ballots early for the November 4th general elections, with more voters to descend on the polls on the actual Election Day this Tuesday. Voters will decide on key races such as U.S. Senate, Governor, all the constitutional offices, every state legislative seat and a myriad of local races along with ballot questions. But did you know that collectively, there are four credit union board members/associate board members running for the state Legislature in the general?

Each of these individuals has an intimate understanding of what makes credit unions unique, and the legislative needs of the industry. Put simply, they are an asset in the state Legislature! And while the majority of these individuals have already faced their competition in the primary, their campaigns are still under way. These credit union incumbents and their respective districts:

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Credit Union Members Plan to Make Their Voices Heard (Issue 2 of 6)

My vote countsGCUA conducts twice-yearly consumer surveys, with more than 95 percent of the respondents being members of Georgia credit unions. A section of the midyear 2014 survey was devoted to questions regarding the elections, revealing that with more than two million members, Georgia credit unions are aligned with a large number of active voters who pay attention to who supports credit unions. The survey results:

  • More than 86 percent of those surveyed said they are planning to vote in next week’s elections.
  • ┬áMore than 75 percent of respondents said it was important to them that candidates support credit unions, while
  • Almost 70 percent declared their vote would be influenced by whether or not a candidate supports credit union issues!

For information about candidates and their support of credit unions, click on the nonpartisan resource produced by GCUA: ElectionWatch, and share with your staff and members.

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Georgia CapitolGA Legislators Consider Tax Reform,
Debt Settlement (Issue 3 of 6)

Even in the midst of election season, state legislators continue their early pre-session hearings this year to weigh issues and gain intel on support of and opposition to legislative efforts:

  • On Wednesday, October 29th, members of the Senate Finance Committee held the third in a series of tax-reform hearings, this time in Macon. The committee has weighed attempts to shift Georgia to a consumption-based tax system, considering options to potentially raise the sales taxes, expand what sales tax is applicable towards (such as services) and lowering income taxes. This topic is monitored closely to protect the credit union income tax exemption, and analyze the breadth of “services” that could be included in the tax base (as they could draw in taxing financial services).
  • On Friday, October 24th, the House Judiciary subcommittee met to discuss provisions to consider allowing debt settlement companies to operate in Georgia. Readers of Creating Influence will recall this has been sought over the past two sessions. This latest attempt is to try to force “bad actor” debt settlement companies from operating across state lines by providing another option. Credit union lobbyists were on hand to ensure that any new regulations and compliance burdens would not be applied to the industry, and monitor to protect consumers’ ability to utilize credit union accounts to pay back debts. Chairman of the subcommittee Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Brookhaven) stated that legislation will move forward this year, but it will likely take several hearings for the attorneys on the committee to sift through the provisions.
If the large number of "out of season" hearings on state legislative issues is any indication of what is to come in 2015, Georgia is in for a fast, hectic state legislative session!
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From left: Austin Saxon, Georgia’s Own CU; Christy Wagner, Delta Community CU; Angi Harben, GCUA; Joe Foster, Hallco Community CU; Sydney Rubin, Legislative Director; Sen. Butch Miller; Kathy Igou, Georgia’s Own CU; Stacie Clark, Delta Community CU; Brandee Bickle, GCUA
Growing Legislative Influence in Gainesville (Issue 4 of 6)

On Thursday, October 30th, credit union leaders sat down with state Sen. Butch Miller (R-Gainesville) to discuss the industry and legislative issues. Sen. Miller has advanced in leadership quickly, serving presently as the Majority Caucus Chairman, and the credit union individuals helped grow a stronger relationship with him for the future. Sen. Miller has been helpful to credit union issues, carrying the Patent Troll Bill Legislation HB 809 on the Senate floor in 2014 that went into law effective July 1st, 2014. However, the time at this event expanded his understanding of how credit unions help people afford life in Gainesville and all across the state. Our thanks to Delta Community Credit Union, Georgia’s Own Credit Union and Hallco Community Credit Union for making a positive impact for all credit unions!

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NCUANCUA on 2nd Comment Period for RBC Plan
(Issue 5 of 6)

A second comment period for NCUA’s risk-based capital rule will offer new insights into the proposal's framework and implementation, said NCUA Chair Debbie Matz. The NCUA response to an Oct. 15 letter from Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) outlined several areas that will be changed when the revised proposal is issued. "The revised proposed rule will include changes requested by stakeholders during the initial comment period, such as a longer implementation period and revised risk weights for mortgages, investments, member business loans, credit union service organizations and corporate credit unions, among other changes," Matz wrote. 

Matz also added that stakeholders will be invited to provide thoughts on alternative approaches for addressing interest-rate risk, a concern Marino highlighted in his letter. NCUA board member Rick Metsger said interest-rate risk must be addressed in the proposal, but separately from credit risk. "Weighting credit risk and interest-rate risk with a single numerical value created conflicts that ultimately made it difficult to accurately weigh the risk of either," he said. Credit unions, Leagues and CUNA have taken a different approach to interest-rate risk, instead suggesting that it should not be part of the proposal, but along with concentration risk, it should be addressed in the regulatory, examination and supervision process. 

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SnapshotWhat Congress Has Done in One Quick Snapshot
(Issue 6 of 6)

All have read the stories that this Congress has been caught up in partisan politics and not addressed many issues to move the country forward. But what’s the real story? One of the Hill newspapers, Politico, recently published a pictorial that shows what Congress has been working on the past twenty-two months. After the November elections, Congress is expected to return in a lame-duck session to address some more of the issues. During that session credit unions hope that some of the industry-supported, non-controversial bills will finally make it through both chambers.

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