DECEMBER 4, 2015
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Calendar NCUA Field of Membership Proposal
(Issue 1 of 6)

The National Credit Union Administration voted to put its proposal for modernizing its field of membership rules out for comment. The proposal, if enacted, would make it easier for credit unions to serve new members.

  Reg Relief in Sight! Congressional Transportation Bill with CU-Supported Provisions (Issue 2 of 6)
A draft transportation bill that passed Congress on December 3rd includes provisions, strongly advocated by credit unions, that would reduce the regulatory burden on the industry.

  Hike at Home Addresses Attempts to Mandate EMV Cards in Georgia (Issue 3 of 6)
A meeting with a state senator provided Georgia credit union leaders with an opportunity to present the industry's opposition to a retailers' group's proposal to force financial institutions to issue EMV/Chip cards.

  Georgia Credit Unions Supporting Congressional Leaders (Issue 4 of 6)
Georgia credit unions in recent weeks fostered influence and gained legislative insight by hosting fundraisers for a Senator and a U.S. Representative from the state.

  Middle Georgia Chapter Holds Credit Union Advocacy Night (Issue 5 of 6)
An Advocacy Night event hosted by the Middle Georgia Credit Union Chapter gave area credit unions an opportunity to interact with Congressional staff members and CUNA's top lobbyist to learn about emerging federal issues.

  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.

membershipNCUA Field of Membership Proposal (Issue 1 of 6)

The ability to grow and serve members is not just impacted by competition, regulations, or general consumer awareness of what makes a credit union different (and a great choice!). At times, it is also constrained by field of membership rules, which dictate where a credit union can operate and whom it serves. Recently NCUA voted to put out for comment its proposal to modernize these credit union field-of-membership rules, eliminating some of the hurdles and implementing some new standards that fit today's environment. The plan, if enacted, would:

  • Improve the definition of "rural district." It would allow rural district to be composed of up to 1 million residents by changing the standard used to measure it (is four times greater than the current cap of 250,000).
  • Consider Congressional districts for a Well-Defined Local Community (WDLC) to support a community charter application.
  • Eliminate a geographic limitation on trade, industry or profession (TIP) charter for federal credit unions with associational common bond memberships.
  • Streamline the paperwork and process to allow credit unions to add groups with up to 5,000 potential members to be added to a multiple common bond federal credit union. The current rule limits these groups to 3,000 potential members.
  • Allow a federal credit union (FCU) to convert to a community charter or expand an existing community charter without having to serve the core area if electing to serve a portion of a Core Based Statistical Area.

Other provisions include:

  • Ability for an FCU to serve a Combined Statistical Area as designated by the Office of Management and Budget.
  • Option for an FCU to apply to serve an outside area contiguous to its existing Core Based Statistical Area or single political jurisdiction using a written narrative to demonstrate interaction or common interests.
  • When a credit union seeks to serve an underserved area, NCUA would not recalculate the concentration of facilities ratio analysis, excluding any non-depository institutions or non-community credit unions or both from the concentration of facilities ratio. However a second analysis will still include other multiple common bond credit unions in the area.
  • NCUA would also consider alternative methods to determine whether a proposed area is underserved by other financial institutions (provided data relies on NCUA data or other banking regulator).
  • The definition of a TIP (trade, industry, professional) charter expanded to include employees of entities that have a strong dependency relationship with employees who work directly with employees of other entities within the same industry.

Banking trade groups are opposing this proposal, writing in opposition even before it was discussed and approved by the NCUA Board. Once the proposal is published in the Federal Register it will become vital that credit unions share their perspectives. Be on the lookout for more information as soon as the proposal is published.

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Reg Relief in Sight! Congressional Transportation Bill with CU-Supported Provisions
(Issue 2 of 6)

capitolPositive news for credit unions: The Congressional Conference Committee's draft of the transportation bill contains credit union regulatory relief victories strongly advocated by the industry. The new version of the bill passed Congress this week and is expected to be signed by the President. Of interest to credit unions, the bill includes provisions that would:

  • Modernize privacy notification requirements to allow credit unions and all financial institutions to send notices only when there is a policy change, not on an annual basis;
  • Allow privately insured credit unions to become members of the Federal Home Loan Bank system; and
  • Direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to establish an application process allowing a person who lives in or does business in a state, to apply to the CFPB to have designated an area in which the business is located as a rural area for purposes of a federal consumer financial law.

The conference bill also dropped a provision adamantly opposed by CUNA that would have allowed Congress to use Federal Housing Finance Agency guarantee fees (g-fees) for purposes beyond protecting against credit-related losses in the mortgage portfolios of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That contested provision would have increased g-fees and extended the fee's expiration date by four years to 2025 and allowed lawmakers to use the higher fees charged from 2021 to 2025 to fund highway programs.

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From left: Brian Albrecht, Credit Union of Georgia; Diana Houston, GCUA; Tim Mitchell, Delta Community CU; Abe Kassis, LGE Community CU; Sen. Brandon Beach; Andrea Shorr, LGE Community CU; Chris Leggett, LGE Community CU
Hike at Home Addresses Attempts to Mandate EMV Cards in Georgia (Issue 3 of 6)

On November 30th, leaders from Credit Union of Georgia, Delta Community Credit Union and LGE Community Credit Union sat down with state Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) to help grow a personal connection for the future and address an emerging state issue for 2016. Sen. Beach is chairman of the Science and Technology Committee in the Senate, which has been studying cyber security during the off session. While that topic has been more on the state perspective (i.e., securing state computers and data), in November’s hearing the National Retail Federation attempted to divert the discussion from statewide cyber security to one of that financial institutions should be forced to issue EMV/Chip and PIN cards. While it was just one point in a three-hour hearing, the credit union meeting was to have Sen. Beach hear a different perspective from those in the district.

These credit unions quickly engaged on this topic, and provided context on the retailers’ push to mandate EMV/Chip and PINs. Placing our state’s financial institutions at a different standard than the rest of the country would create an operational disadvantage, impose undue financial burdens, impact interchange, and create a misconception with consumers that their data is instantly and fully safeguarded, when it is not. Stay tuned; this issue will continue throughout the upcoming state session.

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U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, center, with Georgia credit union advocates
Georgia Credit Unions Supporting Congressional Leaders (Issue 4 of 6)

When credit unions engage personally with legislators, it places an in-district connection between the industry and the elected leader, and helps grow the legislative influence for the entire industry. Throughout the year, these connections have been highlighted in Creating Influence, and are something that is worth the time and energy. It’s these efforts that help grow relationships, which can turn into developing strong supporters in office!

Over the past few weeks Georgia credit unions have continued this effort by hosting political fundraisers for two Congressional leaders: Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) on November 16th and Rep. Rob Woodall (R-7) as of press time on December 4th. These events helped grow the level of influence for credit unions in Washington, D.C., and gain insight into the fluid issues in Congress – and what they see for 2016. As credit unions grow influence, the need to help support events like this is greater; watch for more opportunities to get involved as the elections grow near.
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From left: Ryan Donovan, CUNA; Donovan Head, Rep. Austin Scott’s office; Jerry Jordan, CGR CU; Carolyn Dallas, Rep. Jody Hice’s office; Michelle Sands, Rep. Sanford Bishop’s office
Middle Georgia Chapter Holds Credit Union Advocacy Night (Issue 5 of 6)

Macon area credit unions were treated to a comprehensive federal issues immersion on December 1st when the Middle Georgia Credit Union Chapter hosted the top national federal lobbyist for credit unions along with area Congressional field staff. The credit unions heard from Michelle Sands for U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-2), Donovan Head for U.S. Rep. Austin Scott (R-8), and Carolyn Dallas for U.S. Rep. Jody Hice (R-10) on their focus for the future in Congress. Ryan Donovan, Chief Advocacy Officer for CUNA, started the night on the emerging issues in Washington, D.C., and what credit unions may anticipate in terms of regulatory relief and growth in capabilities. Thank you to the Middle Georgia Chapter for putting together a terrific way to jump-start advocacy for 2016!

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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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