DECEMBER 19, 2014
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Happy Holidays!
Creating Influence will resume publication
with the January 9, 2015 issue.


 
Congress Passes Credit Union Regulatory Relief Bill (Issue 1 of 6)
Congress has passed a bill that would give credit unions parity with banks in terms of federal savings insurance coverage for certain trust accounts.

 
     
  Members of Congress Take Opposite Tacks
on Tax Reform (Issue 2 of 6)

A U.S. Senator from Oklahoma and a Congressman from Michigan recently unveiled tax-reform proposals that include very different approaches to the credit union tax exemption.

 
  Georgia Congressmen Named to Powerful Rules Committee (Issue 3 of 6)
Two U.S. Representatives from Georgia have been named to the House Rules Committee, which decides the rules under which proposed legislation could be voted on once it reaches the floor of the House.

 
  Credit Unions Meet with State Sen. Renee Unterman
(Issue 4 of 6)

During a Hike at Home with State Sen. Renee Unterman, the Georgia Senate's highest-ranking woman, representatives of four Georgia credit unions emphasized CUs' prudent lending practices and the effects of regulatory burdens.

 
  GA Legislature Analyzes TNCs (Issue 5 of 6)
In advance of the 2015 state session, the Georgia Legislature held hearings to consider legislative efforts regarding Transportation Network Companies such as the ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft.

 
  New Year, New Look for GCUA Website (Issue 6 of 6)
The New Year will bring with it a redesigned Georgia Credit Union Affiliates website, with a fresh look and improved navigation to help users find the information they need quickly and easily.

 
 
 
Oval OfficeCongress Passes Credit Union
Regulatory Relief Bill (Issue 1 of 6)

Pro-credit-union legislation has passed Congress in these last remaining weeks of the year and was signed into law by President Obama on December 18th.  H.R. 3468 seeks to give credit unions parity with banks in terms of federal savings insurance coverage for certain trust accounts – an important piece of regulatory relief for credit unions. This much-needed legislation is a step in removing barriers that impede credit unions from fully serving their members. The legislation would extend National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund coverage to interest on lawyer trust accounts (IOLTAs), and others, thus giving credit unions parity for coverage of the accounts with banks – where they are already covered by FDIC insurance.

The legislation became necessary after NCUA interpreted the Federal Credit Union Act to read that it does not support such parity treatment for these accounts. The inability of federally insured credit unions to extend share insurance coverage to IOLTAs and prepaid debit card master accounts forces credit union members to use a bank or thrift in order to receive the maximum deposit insurance coverage for all owners of the funds held in such an account.
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Members of Congress Take Opposite Tacks on Tax Reform
(Issue 2 of 6)

PuzzleThe credit union tax exemption has been in the industry press of late, with two members of Congress releasing polar opposite proposed treatments of the credit union tax exemption. This activity points to the underlying fact that tax reform and the discussion (and protection) of the credit union income tax exemption is not disappearing in the New Year. Credit unions will need to be on watch! Recent tax activity by members of Congress:

  • Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) released a report on December 9th – one he says "decodes" the U.S. tax code. In it he calls for the elimination of the credit union tax status, which applies to credit unions because of their cooperative, not-for-profit operating model. 
  • House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) introduced his long-awaited legislation (H.R.1) on December 11th, which has positive treatment of credit unions per his discussion draft he unveiled back in February. His tax-reform proposal helps allow credit unions to retain their federal tax status, and enables the financial cooperatives to fulfill their mission in helping people afford life.
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) released a lengthy report on issues surrounding the U.S. tax code he wants to see addressed in a reform effort. Hatch is expected to become chair of the Senate Finance Committee in January when the Republicans become the majority party in that chamber, as they are in the House. Retaining the credit union tax status is the top advocacy issue for CUNA, and the association is closely reviewing the Hatch report to identify any issues that could affect the financial cooperatives.
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PillarsGeorgia Congressmen Named to Powerful
Rules Committee (Issue 3 of 6)

Two Georgia Representatives have been named to the powerful House Rules Committee in Washington, D.C., for the next Congressional term. Rather than being responsible for a specific topic for bills (like transportation or finance) the House Rules Committee decides the rules under which proposed legislation could be voted on once it reaches the floor of the House (i.e., how the bills will be considered). Congratulations to Rep. Rob Woodall (R-7) (who returns to Rules for another term) and Rep. Doug Collins (R-9) for their placement on this significant committee in the next Congress!

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Unterman Hike at Home
From left: Angi Harben, GCUA; Julianna McConnell, GEMC FCU; Chad Evans, Associated CU; Susan Tillery, LGE Community CU; Brandee Bickle, GCUA; State Sen. Renee Unterman; Marshall Boutwell, Peach State FCU
Credit Unions Meet with State Sen. Renee Unterman (Issue 4 of 6)

On Friday, December 5th credit unions joined State. Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) for lunch at a Hike at Home meeting before the state session begins in January. As the highest-ranking female in the Senate, Sen. Unterman wields significant influence and the credit union individuals shared their insight on legislative issues, industry issues, and the lending and foreclosure process in Georgia. Each year there are several bills introduced in the state legislature that if passed would drastically impact the way credit unions provide mortgages, and/or foreclose on nonperforming loans. This meeting with Sen. Unterman helped illustrate the prudent lending practices credit unions have, and the regulatory burdens already on top of the industry.

Hike at Home meetings are a terrific opportunity to build awareness of the industry, and build positive inroads with elected officials – this December 5th group did precisely that with some holiday cheer! Our thanks to Associated Credit Union, GEMC Federal Credit Union, LGE Community Credit Union, and Peach State Federal Credit Union for sharing their time and perspective with this legislator. Please take advantage of these local Hikes when they come to your area in 2015 – the time spent at them can positively shape how your credit union operates in the future!

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Georgia Capitol interiorGA Legislature Analyzes TNCs (Issue 5 of 6)

Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber, Lyft and other ride-share companies are growing in popularity around the world. There is often heated debate in states and municipalities on the regulation of these industries, and Georgia is one of several states to analyze how these companies should operate. The Georgia Legislature met twice this week in separate hearings to tee up legislative efforts regarding TNCs for the 2015 state session.

One point of note for credit unions however is there is a gap in insurance coverage if individuals are operating their vehicles as a ride-share car (as it is a commercial activity). This insurance issue has been researched on behalf of credit unions in Georgia during the off session, and the Government Influence Team has engaged the Insurance Commissioner’s office, the chairman of the House Insurance Committee, insurance lobbyists and TNC industry lobbyists to proactively address this issue. GCUA is presently working to craft legislation with these individuals, outside of the above regulatory issue which will likely result in a heated legislative battle! Stay tuned.



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LightsNew Year, New Look for GCUA Website (Issue 6 of 6)

Watch for something new in the New Year – Georgia Credit Union Affiliates’ redesigned website. The Affiliates' web address (www.gcua.org) will remain the same, but the site will have a fresh look and navigation to help users find the information they need quickly and easily. It will also contain updated content and social media feeds so it can serve as your one-stop shop for information from your trade association.

"Our new site design grew out of an extensive planning process," said Kristi Arrington, Vice President/Information Development. "We took into account feedback we have received from users of our current site, as well as ideas from GCUA staff about how best to share information with both our member credit unions and the public. The goal was to give the Affiliates an attractive but highly functional web presence, and we think we’ve succeeded. We hope users will agree." We hope you will visit our new site often and will find it a useful resource in your efforts to serve your members and further the credit union philosophy.

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