MAY 29, 2015
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Calendar Reg Relief Takes Another Step Forward in U.S. Senate (Issue 1 of 5)
The U.S. Senate Banking Committee approved a regulatory relief bill, supported by the credit union industry, that includes several provisions that would benefit credit unions.

  Six Special Elections for State House (Issue 2 of 5)
Special elections are scheduled this summer to fill Georgia House of Representatives seats left vacant by the resignations of five representatives and the death of one.

  Engaging the FTC on the 'Sharing Economy' (Issue 3 of 5)
GCUA has asked the Federal Trade Commission, which is considering regulations involving the "sharing economy," to consider four points that were lobbied during recent Georgia legislation on transportation network companies such as Uber.

  Declined: Settlement with Target on Data Breach Not Accepted (Issue 4 of 5)
The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that a proposed settlement over the 2013 Target data breach has fallen apart because not enough card-issuing institutions signed onto the deal.

  Connecting with Legislators in the District (Issue 5 of 5)
The summer months offer many opportunities for credit union people to build relationships with their elected officials, at events such as town hall meetings, job fairs, family-oriented celebrations and more.

Reg Relief Takes Another Step Forward in U.S. Senate (Issue 1 of 5)

Utah House chamberOn May 21st the U.S. Senate Banking Committee voted to approve Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL)’s regulatory relief bill, "The Financial Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015." However, as reported by Bloomberg after the vote, the bill has a long road to overcome objections in the full Senate. If the bill can move forward, it contains several provisions that would provide regulatory relief to credit unions, three which would benefit credit unions exclusively:

  • Allow privately insured credit unions to become members of the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB);
  • Grant credit unions under $1 billion in assets parity with like-sized banks by allowing less restrictive access to FHLB;
  • Require NCUA to hold hearings and receive public comments on its budget;
  • Allow all mortgages held in portfolio to be treated as Qualified Mortgages (QMs), which defines mortgages with features to make them more affordable.
  • Establish an ombudsman at the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council to investigate complaints from financial institutions relating to the examination process; 
  • Amend the Truth in Lending Act to exclude from the computation of points and fees an escrow for future payment of insurance. This section also requires the Government Accountability Office to study the impact of Dodd-Frank mortgage rules on the availability of mortgage credit, including the impact on affiliated lenders; 
  • Remove the three-day waiting period required by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) mortgage disclosure rule if the only change is a reduction in the consumer's interest rate; 
  • Direct the CFPB to establish an application process for designating an area as "rural," and 
  • Modernize privacy notification requirements to allow financial institutions to send notices when they are changed, and not on an annual basis.

A summary is available here. Many of these provisions have been featured in CUNA testimony before the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee, and the bill was supported jointly by CUNA, the American Bankers Association, Independent Community Bankers of America and NAFCU in a letter encouraging the Committee to support the bill.

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Peach stickersSix Special Elections for State House
(Issue 2 of 5)

While the "official" election season is not until 2016, there are several open seats for the state House that require elections during the summer months. Six special elections will be held due across Georgia for one unfortunate death and five personal resignations of those leaving for other posts. These open races typically draw multiple candidates, yet turnout is notoriously light; races are often decided by just a handful of voters. Please see the below to see if you have an upcoming election:

Atlanta Area:

  • Election June 16th for District 55, was held by Rep. Tyrone Brooks (D)
  • Election July 14th for District 90, was held by Rep. Mike Jacobs (R)

Bonaire Area:

  • Election July 14th for District 146, was held by Rep. Larry O’Neal (R)

Cumming Area:

  • Election June 16th for District 24, was held by Rep. Mark Hamilton (R)

Ocilla Area:

  • Election July 14th for District 155, was held by Rep. Jay Roberts (R)

Roswell Area:

  • Election July 14th for District 48, was held by the late Rep. Harry Geisinger (R)

Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on the date listed for each race in those districts. To check your district for a potential open race, to register to vote, or for more information, please visit the Secretary of State’s election page.

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Engaging the FTC on the 'Sharing Economy' (Issue 3 of 5)

FTCGeorgia was one of several states to battle transportation network companies (TNCs) Uber and Lyft in the state Legislature to set insurance standards and help eliminate the gaps in insurance that could be detrimental to the driver, passers-by, and credit unions. GCUA spent significant time lobbying to pass HB 190 by Rep. Rich Golick (R-Smyrna), which closes a gap in insurance coverage if an individual chooses to drive for a TNC. It also requires TNCs to notify their drivers that they may be in violation of their loan agreements, and institutes a lien holder notification.

While this bill is now signed into law in Georgia, on the broader national level GCUA engaged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on May 26th to continue to address credit union concerns on TNCs. The FTC is exploring issues relating to the "sharing economy" and analyzing how they should craft regulations moving forward to help foster the various peer-to-peer platforms (such as TNCs). GCUA asked that the FTC consider four points for regulations moving forward to protect all parties nationally and strengthen the viability of the TNC ride-sharing platform:

  1. Insurance coverage and parties should be clearly defined. Gaps in coverage created through the operation of TNCs should not be ignored, nor should the responsibility of such be vaguely passed onto the individuals.
  2. TNCs, as the creator, conduit and financial beneficiary of the use of the peer-to-peer platform, should be identified as the provider of primary first-party insurance coverage at the same limits, coverage and deductibles as held by the driver personally. This is to ensure that the driver and passengers, as well as the collateral, are covered at all times while operating in the TNC. This would protect an individual’s financial well-being and minimize the time their car is unable to operate in the TNC due to an accident.
  3. Insurance coverage should begin the moment someone engages their personal property, for TNCs at “app on.” This is to protect the driver, passengers and others (regardless of whether they utilize TNCs) so that there is insurance coverage at all times, and so that in the event of an injury or death there is a means of recourse.
  4. Create greater environment of transparency and awareness: There should be disclosure to the financial institution when a vehicle is used in a TNC platform (lien holder notification) and the TNC should disclose to their employees what insurance coverage is in effect when, and what limits are provided under various conditions.
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Declined: Settlement with Target on Data Breach Not Accepted (Issue 4 of 5)

TargetOn May 22nd the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that the proposed $19 million settlement between Target and MasterCard over damages incurred as a result of 2013’s massive data breach has been declined. Typical settlement deals between merchants and card networks in the aftermath of data breaches send money to the card networks, which then disburse funds to the financial institutions that suffered losses as a result of the incident.

This deal would have worked similarly. However, it would have been valid only if more than 90% of affected financial institutions had endorsed it by May 20 (something they did not reach). While MasterCard and Target have said they will continue to work towards a new deal, the focus now shifts to the class-action lawsuit filed by financial institutions, including several credit unions, making its way through U.S. District Court in St. Paul, MN. The class-action case is expected to go to trial in March 2016.

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ConnectionsConnecting with Legislators in the District
(Issue 5 of 5)

During the summer months, many legislators, both state and federal, hold in-district events to connect with their constituents. These range from the traditional town hall meeting, to health or job fairs, to family-oriented celebrations involving multiple legislators. Building strong relationships with legislators can be fostered simply by being where they are, and making a connection for all credit unions. To see just some of these events around the state, visit the GCUA website under the Advocacy page for upcoming events near you!

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