|Reg Relief Takes Another Step Forward in U.S. Senate (Issue 1 of 5)
On 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:
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.
|Six 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:
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.
|Engaging the FTC on the 'Sharing Economy' (Issue 3 of 5)
Georgia 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:
|Declined: Settlement with Target on Data Breach Not Accepted (Issue 4 of 5)
On 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.
|Connecting 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!