DECEMBER 5, 2014
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Georgia Capitol Not on Holiday: CU Legislative Issues
Continue Through December (Issue 1 of 6)

Congress is winding down, and the next session of the Georgia Legislature doesn't start until January, but legislators are staying busy with study committees, hearings and other activities - and credit union advocates are staying engaged as well.

  House Passes Regulation D Study Act (Issue 2 of 6)
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill directing the Government Accountability Office to study the impact of the Federal Reserve's Regulation D, which sets reserve requirements for depository institutions.

  Two Georgia Legislators on the Rise (Issue 3 of 6)
Two U.S. Representatives from Georgia, Rep. Tom Price and Rep. Tom Graves, have recently assumed committee leadership positions on the House Budget Committee and an appropriations subcommittee, respectively.

  Credit Union Leaders Meet with State Sen. Hunter Hill
(Issue 4 of 6)

Representatives of GCUA and three Georgia credit unions met recently with State Sen. Hunter Hill of Atlanta, in a Hike at Home meeting to further his understanding of the industry and promote a positive relationship with him.

  Matz: Expect RBC Revisions in January (Issue 5 of 6)
NCUA Chair Debbie Matz said she expects the NCUA Board to begin consideration of a revised risk-based capital proposal on January 15, and said she expects a 90-day public comment period to follow.

  Register Now for Grassroots Academy (Issue 6 of 6)
January 16 is the deadline to register for the seventh annual Grassroots Academy, scheduled for Tuesday, January 27. The event is designed to provide knowledge of the political process and of the key players and issues.

Not on Holiday: CU Legislative Issues Continue Through December (Issue 1 of 6)

Capitol ChristmasWith only a month left in 2014, what does that mean for credit union legislative issues and advocacy? On both the state and federal level, the efforts to protect credit unions and advance our industry have not taken a “holiday”! The state Legislature, which adjourned in March, has been unusually active with out-of-session study committees, hearings and impromptu groups meeting to discuss legislation for the 2015 year – and GCUA will continue to meet with legislators and lobbyists through December. In addition, GCUA will connect with newly elected legislators at the Biennial, a legislative conference held every two years by the state to acclimate new legislators to their roles, the process, and issues such as the budget.

In Congress, prior to the Thanksgiving Day recess, CUNA sent a letter to the members of the U.S. Senate urging them to approve four credit union measures before adjournment: S. 2699, a bill to extend share insurance coverage to lawyer trust accounts; S. 1806, the Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act; S. 635, the Privacy Notice Modernization Act, and S. 1577, the Mortgage Choice Act. It remains to be seen whether the Senate will act on these measures, but credit union lobbying efforts continue. See article below for activity of credit union interest in the U.S. House.

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House Passes Regulation D Study Act (Issue 2 of 6)

On December 2nd the U. S. House passed H.R. 3240, the Regulation D Study Act by a vote of 422 to 0. The bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC), would direct the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the impact of the Federal Reserve's regulation setting reserve requirements for depository institutions. The legislation has received support from credit unions, credit union leagues and CUNA as it would be a positive move toward updating the 1980s-era regulations rendered obsolete by modern banking technology.

 Regulation D sets a limit on the number of automatic transfers between a consumer's savings accounts and checking account; six per month. This regulation can be confusing to credit union members and credit union employees, and it is hoped that this legislation will be a first step in increasing or eliminating the cap. Some good news: The legislation does not necessarily need to become law in order to get the GAO study that the bill orders. CUNA is working with the sponsors to request the study, and the very strong vote in the House will add credence to the request.

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StepsTwo Georgia Legislators on the Rise (Issue 3 of 6)

Two of Georgia’s Congressmen recently moved up the steps of influence via committee leadership in Washington, D.C.:

The annual budgets Congress adopts are essentially blueprints for government spending. However, the actual decisions on how to allocate federal funds are contained within appropriations bills – which  brings us to our second Georgian to rise in committee leadership:

  • U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-14) has been named chairman of an appropriations subcommittee overseeing the legislative branch in the new Congress, a rapid rise to a position known as “cardinal.” The legislative branch’s spending is a fairly small section of the 12 annual spending bills — but with this new post for Graves comes the job of holding fellow lawmakers’ purse strings. Click here for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article highlighting his new position.

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From left: Brandee Bickle, GCUA; Jason Blakey, Credit Union of Georgia; Terry Hardy, MembersFirst CU; Jason Golden, GCUA; Sen. Hunter Hill; Chuck Head, Atlanta Postal CU; Diana Houston, GCUA
Credit Union Leaders Meet
with State Sen. Hunter Hill (Issue 4 of 6)

On Monday, December 1st credit unions kicked off the month by sitting down with State Sen. Hunter Hill (R-Atlanta) for a Hike at Home meeting. Sen. Hill has been identified as one to watch in terms of advancing in leadership, and the credit union individuals helped develop a positive relationship with him and instill a strong understanding of the industry. There are consistently hundreds of bills each year in the state Legislature that can impact credit unions, and this meeting with Sen. Hill helped build context so when he considers legislation, he has a background on the industry to aid in his decision-making process. Our thanks to Atlanta Postal Credit Union, Credit Union of Georgia and MembersFirst Credit Union for sharing their time and insight with this legislator!

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Matz: Expect RBC Revisions in January (Issue 5 of 6)

MatzJanuary 15th is the likely date NCUA will take up a new risk-based capital (RBC) proposal for discussion. NCUA Chair Debbie Matz announced she will ask the agency board to consider a revised RBC plan at that time, and said a 90-day public comment period would likely follow. 

Regarding the new proposal and the timing of it, Matz said, "During the six months since the comment period closed on the original proposed rule, we've taken the time to carefully review and methodically evaluate the many thoughtful comments received from stakeholders. We've also considered the input received during three listening sessions across the U.S. this summer. We're getting closer to issuing the revised proposed rule, which I now anticipate will be presented in January 2015 ... one year since the original proposed rule. To provide the public ample time to review this important safety and soundness rulemaking, I intend to support a 90-day comment period."

Credit unions, leagues and CUNA have strongly advocated for a reasonable comment period of at least 60 days, given the number of structural changes that had been mentioned by NCUA, including longer implementation period and revised risk weights for mortgages, investments, member business loans, credit union service organizations and corporate credit unions. More than 2,000 comments were received from credit unions, members of the U.S. Congress and other stakeholders during the proposal's original comment period. Stay tuned! 

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Grassroots AcademyRegister Now for Grassroots Academy (Issue 6 of 6)

The seventh annual Grassroots Academy is scheduled for Tuesday, January 27, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sloppy Floyd Building in downtown Atlanta (across from the Capitol). Why attend? By being aware and engaged in the legislative and political process, credit unions can truly shape their future – and this event provides participants with the knowledge of who the power players are at the moment, what the emerging issues are and how those issues can impact the credit union operating environment. It’s a proactive event for anyone looking toward the future and seeking ways to make an impact on the issues before they become law! Click here for more information on the event, speakers and the registration form; the deadline to reserve a spot is Friday, January 16th.

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