NOVEMBER 13, 2015
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Happy Thanksgiving!

Creating Influence will resume publication
with the December 4, 2015 issue.

Election 2014 button NCUA to Review Potential
Field of Membership Changes
(Issue 1 of 6)

The National Credit Union Administration is expected to address a proposed field of membership rule at its November 19 meeting; the proposed changes would remove some barriers to credit unions' ability to serve new members.

  State Legislature Hearings on Cyber Security, Tax Reform and TAVT/Boat Titlings (Issue 2 of 6)
Committees and subcommittees of the Georgia Legislature held hearings this week to address several topics of interest to credit unions; the heavy schedule of hearings foreshadows a busy legislative term starting in January.

  Congressional Reg Relief? Credit Union Amendments Make Way into Highway Funding Bill (Issue 3 of 6)
Amendments that would offer regulatory relief to credit unions have found their way into a highway-funding bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, thanks to the efforts of a Congressman from Texas.

  Connections in the District with Federal and State Legislators (Issue 4 of 6)
Several recent events in metro Atlanta and North Georgia presented valuable opportunities for credit union advocates to meet with state and federal elected officials and build relationships beneficial to the industry.

  The Economist Magazine on Credit Unions
(Issue 5 of 6)

The Economist reported in its October 31 issue that credit union membership has grown more than 100 percent since 2000, accompanied by an even larger increase in savings in real terms.

  Credit Unions in the News (Issue 6 of 6)
The credit union message is getting out, as evidenced by coverage of the industry in a wide range of media outlets, from newspapers to magazines to the broadcast media.

NCUA to Review Potential Field of Membership Changes (Issue 1 of 6)

CrowdA field of membership (FOM) proposed rule will be addressed at NCUA’s November 19th meeting; FOM reform has been an issue for credit unions, leagues and CUNA. Motivations for FOM reform are to eliminate some of the barriers and/or regulatory red tape in being able to provide services to those citizens seeking credit unions, and have NCUA refrain from imposing any FOM restrictions beyond what is required in the Federal Credit Union Act. What has been requested of NCUA is to:

  • Allow any federal credit union to serve a combination of contiguous communities and single political jurisdictions that do not exceed in population size or land area of the largest community that NCUA has already approved; 
  • Allow any government definition of community to be used as a credit union’s option to define Well-Defined Local Community (WDLC) and include Combined Statistical Area in the definition of WDLC; 
  • Increase the population limit used for Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSA) from 2.5 million to 10 million and eliminate the requirement that a CBSA contain a “core”;
  • Expand affinity groups for community chartered credit unions beyond those who live in, worship in, attend school in or work in a community. This should be expanded to include those who work for a business headquartered or are paid from a business located in a community;
  • Redefine “rural district” by eliminating a population test and using a test similar to that of the U.S. Census Bureau as an area that does not contain a majority of land area in an Urbanized Area or Urbanized Cluster; 
  • Allow a Congressional district to be considered a WDLC; 
  • Reinstate the narrative approach for defining a community; 
  • Eliminate the geographic limitation on trade, industry or profession (TIP) for federal credit unions; 
  • Allow a TIP to add vendors and their employees that support the trade, industry or profession; 
  • Allow a professional-based TIP to include co-workers who support the professional’s day-to-day delivery of services and to include recipients of the professional’s services when those recipients are not customers or clients; 
  • Streamline the paperwork and process to allow groups with 3,000 or more potential members to easily be added to a multiple-group federal credit union; 
  • Permit federal credit unions that convert to a community charter to keep approved groups in their FOMs that are outside the boundaries of their new community; and 
  • Permit a state credit union converting to a federal credit union to keep its current field of membership and expand based on NCUA’s field of membership policies.
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State Legislature Hearings on Cyber Security, Tax Reform and TAVT/Boat Titling
(Issue 2 of 6)

Georgia CapitolThis week the state Legislature tackled four issues of interest to credit unions: cyber security, tax reform, TAVT and boat titling. A solid schedule of topics while the Legislature is in session, but these hearings are just several of the post-session activities that have taken place since the adjournment in April. The high level of hearings points to what should be a hectic session when legislators officially convene in January. This week’s hearings:

Tax Reform: On Monday, November 9th the Senate Finance subcommittee on tax reform met to hear proposals on shifting Georgia away from income tax and more towards a consumption tax (potentially groceries, services, digital downloads). The state has looked at tax reform over the past several years, and it will continue be a point of debate in the state Legislature. This topic is one to monitor closely as legislators look at exemptions or where to expand what is taxed.

TAVT and Boat Titling: On Tuesday, November 10th the House Ways and Means Committee met to continue discussions on potential changes to auto tax (TAVT tax), as well as implementing a boat titling process for the state. GCUA has been in discussions since the fall of 2014 with industry groups on the idea of boat titling, and while the crux of the issue is more on creating a TAVT process for boats (and debate on where funds would be sent between area of purchase, residence, or locale of use), the titling piece is one to monitor to ensure that lending operations are not impacted. Also on the topic of lending is TAVT. Each year since the creation of the TAVT program, there have been minor changes pursued by the Legislature, and 2016 will see more of the same as this hearing continued the discussion on potential changes to the TAVT as it applies to leases, moving into the state, how trade-ins are handled by dealers – and, of note to credit unions, how used vehicles are valued for the TAVT amount.

Cyber Security: On Thursday, November 12th both the House and Senate Technology committees met again jointly to gain further insight into the evolving world of cyber security, and hear from the marketplace that provides cyber security tools. While this issue is shaped on a global level and expands beyond the borders of the state, it is one that will be of interest to multiple legislators and lobbyist groups. Several bills should be anticipated on this topic in 2016, and the devil is always in the details (the most well-meaning bill can have detrimental operational consequences). GCUA has already addressed issues pursued by other industries using “cyber security” and fraud as their talking points to push their own interests – interests that if left to their own would have impacted credit unions. Significant time and resources on this topic are to be expected.

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U.S. CapitolCongressional Reg Relief? Credit Union Amendments Make Way into Highway Funding Bill
(Issue 3 of 6)

In Washington, D.C., the U.S. House recently passed the DRIVE Act H.R. 22, the highway funding bill that also includes credit union regulatory relief amendments. Offered by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), the amendment passed by a voice vote early on November 5th and includes provisions that have been passed by the House on a number of occasions:

  • Allows financial institutions to send privacy notices to consumers only when the policy has been updated (and not annually );
  • Permits privately insured credit unions to join the Federal Home Loan Bank program.

What happens now: The House-passed version of H.R. 22 is different from the one that passed the Senate in July, so the two will meet in conference committee soon to decide what the bill that moves forward should contain.

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From left: Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX-21), chairman of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology; Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-11); Scott McCall, Atlanta Postal Credit Union
Connections in the District with Federal and State Legislators
(Issue 4 of 6)

This year, credit unions have been growing the number of connections with legislators at local in-district events to build strong relationships for the industry. It’s these relationships that help create open doors for dialogue, and places an in-district face (and strong validity) on the myriad of positions credit unions have to weigh in on at a state and federal level. Thank you to all of the credit unions that have been involved in developing these “key contact” relationships throughout the year. Three of the most recent:

  • On November 3rd Brian Akin, CEO of North Georgia Credit Union, and his wife Kelly joined GCUA at a political event in Toccoa for local state legislator Rep. Dan Gassaway (R-Homer). Akin has built a strong relationship with the legislator, and has created an open-door connection for the industry. Our thanks to the Akins for sharing their time!
  • On November 6th, Scott McCall of Atlanta Postal Credit Union, Kevan Williamson and Chris Yarbrough of Georgia’s Own Credit Union, and Guy Cope of Credit Union Loan Source joined GCUA (both Advocacy and IT) at an event for U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-11) in Atlanta. This focused on cyber security, and what the federal government could do to help protect consumers, and was a great opportunity for the credit unions to be an active part of the discussion.
  • On November 12th, U.S. Rep. Jody Hice (R-10) met with two credit unions in his district: Delta Community Credit Union and Georgia United Credit Union. Rep. Hice specifically requested to meet with credit unions in Henry County to discuss the industry and issues of importance. These credit unions helped put a local face on the industry to Rep. Hice, and reinforced the message that credit unions brought to him at the Hike the Hill back in September.

When your credit union engages in activities such as the above, it helps grow the legislative influence that all credit unions have, and that’s a message important for an entire credit union team to know. Share the importance, and the “why” behind getting involved and growing connections with your credit union. A special thanks to Combined Employees Credit Union, which did just that when they kicked off their all-staff training day on November 11th by having GCUA share the “importance of advocacy” message and how politics (regardless of how one feels or votes) impacts all credit unions!

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ChartThe Economist Magazine on Credit Unions
(Issue 5 of 6)

On October 31st, The Economist magazine shared that credit unions are winning converts, with an emphasis on social mission and the driving forces that are contributing to the growing number of members. The article illustrated that globally the number of people in credit unions has doubled since 2000, from 108 million to 217 million, and savings are up by 130 percent in real terms.

The article goes into a short history of credit unions, why they were formed and that “crucially, they were owned by their members, who shared a “common bond,” such as a profession or place of residence. Earnings were returned to members in the form of better interest rates.” And when the magazine refers to as credit unions as “back in fashion,” it’s a great reminder of what makes credit unions unique – and how that is resonating with more and more people!

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NewsCredit Unions in the News (Issue 6 of 6)

Credit unions continue to earn media coverage statewide and beyond. Whether it’s in a local newspaper, niche magazine or radio show, the credit union message is shared through a multitude of outlets across Georgia. Click here to see recent coverage of Georgia’s credit unions "In the News."

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