Activists lobby Congress on credit union
Wisconsin Activists took advantage of time with the
Wisconsin Congressional delegation during CUNA’s Governmental
Affairs Conference. Taxation, regulatory reform, supplemental capital,
privacy and business lending were all part of the discussions.
More than 50 credit union Activists from Wisconsin traveled to
Washington, D.C. to share stories of social responsibility and discuss
issues affecting Wisconsin credit unions and their 2.3 million members.
In these meetings, Activists asked that Congress:
1. Protect credit unions' current
corporate tax status. Credit unions pay millions each year in
payroll, sales and property taxes. The sole exemption from corporate tax
is based on credit unions' cooperative structure that returns earnings
to members, not shareholders. The Scorecard, which was shared
with each office, explains how Wisconsin credit unions are socially
responsible and used returned earnings to save members almost $1 billion
2. Support the Financial Institution
Examination Fairness Reform Act. The recent financial reforms
under the Dodd-Frank Act have subjected credit unions to an avalanche of
more than 120 regulatory requirements from at least 15 different federal
agencies between 2008 and 2012. Activists noted that credit unions did
not cause the problems that led to the recent financial crisis, yet the
tremendous burden that has stemmed from new compliance requirements
affecting mortgages, remittances and more applies to them as well. They
also shared their concerns about the exam process, as up to a quarter of
all U.S. credit unions feel a need to appeal a supervisory decision.
3. Co-sponsor and support H.R. 719
– Capital Access for Small Businesses and Jobs Act. All
other U.S. depository institutions and most credit unions in other
countries are permitted various forms of alternate or supplemental
capital. While credit unions are currently well capitalized, they may
need to raise capital in the future when the outlook for net income
– the source of retained earnings – is not particularly
4. Co-sponsor and support H.R. 749
– Eliminate the Privacy Notice Confusion Act. Credit
unions send millions of privacy notices to members annually. Most
consumers ignore or pay little attention to these mailings. This
legislation would instead require a privacy notification be sent to a
member or customer only when the policy changes, making notifications
more meaningful. Activists were successful in gaining support from
members of the Wisconsin delegation.
5. Co-sponsor and Support H.R. 688
– The Credit Union Small Business Job Creation Act.
Activists continued the discussion of how credit unions have not been
able to meet the entire demand for small loans even though they
increased lending during the recession by 55% while banks decreased
theirs by 2%. This legislation, identical to the resolution introduced
last session, can stimulate the economy with no cost to taxpayers and no
expansion of government.