JANUARY 27, 2017
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Scales Court Rules in Favor of Credit Unions: Dismisses MBL Lawsuit Against NCUA (Issue 1 of 5)
A federal court in Virginia granted NCUA's motion to dismiss a bankers' association's lawsuit against the agency. The group had sued over NCUA's member business lending rule, which took effect Jan. 1.

  Bill Containing Credit Union Task Force Operational Improvements Introduced (Issue 2 of 5)
Measures suggested by a credit union task force to reduce credit unions' compliance burden were incorporated into the recently introduced Department of Banking and Finance housekeeping bill.

  Week 2 of State Legislative Session Heavy on Issues of Credit Union Interest (Issue 3 of 5)
The legislative session is proceeding at a rapid pace, with multiple hearings during the second week and more than 100 bills being monitored on behalf of credit unions.

  Largest Group of Credit Unions at State GAC Day (Issue 4 of 5)
More than 75 Georgia credit union advocates gathered at the state Capitol on Jan. 24 for the ninth annual Grassroots Academy, a government affairs conference to give participants insight into legislative issues.

  Credit Unions in the News (Issue 5 of 5)
The credit union message continues to spread, as evidenced by coverage of the industry in a wide range of media outlets, from newspapers to magazines to the broadcast media.

Court Rules in Favor of Credit Unions: Dismisses MBL Lawsuit Against NCUA (Issue 1 of 5)

DismissedWelcome news for credit unions this week arrived when the Eastern District Court of Virginia granted the NCUA’s motion to dismiss an Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) lawsuit against the agency and its member business lending (MBL) rule on January 24th.  The MBL rule became effective on January 1st, and this court action bodes well for the industry.

CUNA, along with the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU), filed an amicus brief in support of dismissal.  “The court made the right decision in granting NCUA’s motion to dismiss ICBA’s groundless lawsuit. We had maintained all along that this was nothing more than a frivolous and ill-conceived effort by the bankers. Today’s decision is a clear message that NCUA acted well within its statutory authority when it issued its member business lending rule. The CUNA/League system and NAFCU applaud today’s ruling because it is a huge win for Main Street businesses which look to credit unions to secure much-needed access to capital,” said Dan Berger, president/CEO of NAFCU, and Jim Nussle, president/CEO of CUNA.

The court dismissed the suit on procedural grounds but also indicated the suit would have been dismissed on the merits as well. The NCUA finalized its MBL rule last year, eliminating most requirements not present in the Federal Credit Union Act. The ICBA sued the agency in September, and CUNA filed its amicus brief in support of the rule in November.

And in other NCUA news:

On January 26th, the Trump administration elevated NCUA Board member Mark McWatters to acting chairman, replacing Democrat Rick Metsger, who will remain on the board.

The change was expected following Donald Trump’s win in the presidential election and probably puts to rest  any discussion around McWatters moving to the board of the Export/Import Bank.

The board remains one member short, and while the timeline remains unknown, the administration will eventually appoint another Republican to the board.  There has been some speculation that former NCUA Board member and Chairman Michael Fryzel, now an attorney practicing in Chicago, could be reappointed to the NCUA Board, especially once he was appointed to the NCUA transition landing team by then President-elect Trump.

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Bill Containing Credit Union Task Force Operational Improvements Introduced (Issue 2 of 5)

CapitolOn January 26th HB 143, the Department of Banking and Finance’s Housekeeping bill, was introduced by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe).  Readers of Creating Influence will recall that during the summer months of 2016 there was a credit union task force dedicated specifically to generating ideas for potential improvements to credit union state law.  After productive work and dialogue between the task force, GCUA and the Department, we are pleased to see the direct output of those meetings incorporated in this bill to reduce compliance burdens and improve the operational environment for credit unions. 

These enhancements to improve credit union operations include creating flexibility and enhancements in the audit provisions for smaller credit unions, clarify nonmember deposits, modifying the law governing merger votes to reflect what is in practice (and not require votes of both merging and merged institutions), outlining that businesses headquartered within the field of membership may be eligible for membership in the same manner as a “person,” adding whole loans to the permissible items for investment, and improving the law that governs real estate property held by the credit union. 

The bill is being researched further as of press time; watch for the next edition of Creating Influence for a breakdown of the bill’s provisions.   And stay tuned – much work will be put forth through the session to ensure that bill moves forward, and the credit union provisions remain intact. 

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Week 2 of State Legislative Session Heavy on Issues of Credit Union Interest (Issue 3 of 5)

legislatureThe state Legislature is working at a high pace, with this week alone more 13 hearings of interest to credit unions as of press time, coupled with multiple meetings of coalition partners and other industries on pending issues.  As of Thursday, January 26th, there are more than 100 bills being monitored on behalf of credit unions, which is high for just day 8 of the 40-day session.  Activity of note to credit unions this week included:

  • Sales and Use Tax:  On Tuesday, January 24th, a House Ways and Means subcommittee heard a presentation on HB 61 by Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla), which seeks to expand sales and use tax to online commerce transactions that are not being captured presently.  Bills that address expanding taxes are monitored to ensure that credit unions are not impacted.  In addition to this bill, there are already many tax bills that will be monitored through the process that open the door for potential changes to income tax, sales tax, tax executions, and the intangibles tax. 
  • Wire Transfer Fees:  GCUA continues to be heavily engaged in HB 12 by Rep. Jeff Jones (R-Brunswick) that seeks to require a fee on all wire transfers, and its substitute version of the bill, HB 66.  This issue was addressed early with Rep. Jones back in the fall to work toward exempting credit unions from the provisions of the bill, if it moves forward, as it would create added compliance burdens as well as operational disparities between state and federally chartered credit unions otherwise.  This issue is fluid, with the bill slated for a hearing on Wednesday January 25th but then removed from the agenda shortly beforehand as there will be more revisions.  Much work continues. 
  • Disciplinary Actions on Real Estate Appraisers:  A House Regulated Industries subcommittee passed HB 39 by Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell) on January 25th; the bill now goes to full committee.  This bill seeks to clarify the penalties for any real estate appraiser who is found guilty of violating his or her code of conduct, while providing the flexibility to address extraneous situations.  This bill is monitored to ensure there are no changes that would impact mortgage lending operations at credit unions. 
  • Clarifying What a Data Breach Is:  HB 82 by Rep. Sherri Gilligan (R-Cumming) was introduced to expand the consumer notice provisions in law where there is a breach of data, specifically to include instances where confidential data was provided to an unauthorized individual.  In discussions with Rep. Gilligan, she shared that there was an issue in her county where the tax office accidentally provided Social Security numbers of the citizens to an unauthorized individual, and she is seeking to ensure that when this happens, it is disclosed to the public.  This bill quickly received a hearing in the House Judiciary subcommittee on Thursday, January 26th and will be monitored closely throughout the process as it could attract any number of amendments surrounding data security. 

In addition to the above, there were a large number of bills of credit union interest introduced this week that are still pending activity, a fraction of which were: 

This was also a week where several of the committees of interest held organizational meetings to lay out what to anticipate for the session, including Senate Banking, Senate Finance, Senate Judiciary, House Judiciary, and House Ways and Means Committee.  If it appears that it was a hectic week for credit unions at the Capitol – you are correct!  Stay tuned, and follow GCUA on Twitter at GCUAGov for activity as it happens.

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Largest Group of Credit Unions at State GAC Day (Issue 4 of 5)

GACOn January 24th, the largest group of credit union advocates to date descended on the state Capitol when more than 75 Georgia credit union advocates gathered for the ninth State Governmental Affairs Day – the Grassroots Academy.  Each January while the Georgia Legislature convenes for an intense 40-day legislative session, credit union advocates travel to the Capitol in Atlanta for this governmental affairs conference to gain insight into the multiple legislative issues facing the industry, hear from legislative leaders and political opinion makers on their insight, and learn what they can to do help shape the bills before they become law. This year’s conference attendees met with:

This year’s event provided the opportunity for credit unions to grow their understanding of the legislative issues, gain the tools to expand one’s grassroots strength, and widen the scope of influence credit unions have with legislators. To see the day as it unfolded, visit GCUAGov on Twitter or with the hashtag #CUGrassroots.

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NewsCredit Unions in the News (Issue 5 of 5)

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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