CUs Meet with Members of Congress on Key Issues

Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) with credit union leaders from Orange County.
Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) with credit union leaders from Orange County.

More than 300 California and Nevada credit union executives and advocates met with their members of Congress to advance the credit union agenda this past week during the 2020 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington, D.C. — hosted annually by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

During Wednesday’s “Hike the Hill,” Reps. Katie Porter (D-CA) and Mark Amodei (R-NV) introduced H.R. 5981, the Credit Union Board Modernization Act. Additionally, Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Tim Scott (R-SC) are about to introduce legislation increasing the maturity limit for federal credit unions on non-mortgage lending.

Another bill, authored by Sens. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Ben Sasse (R-NE), was introduced regarding member expulsions.

Charter Bill Details
Porter announced the introduction of the Credit Union Board Modernization Act in her address to all GAC attendees during one of the morning’s general sessions. She noted how she has been working with the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues and CUNA on legislation to update the federal charter to give greater flexibility over board meetings.

This bill reduces the monthly board meeting requirement to six times per annum and mandates that at least one of those six meetings occur each quarter. Many state-chartered credit unions already have this authority, making this another parity bill to enhance the federal charter. California state-chartered credit unions are required to meet “on a regular basis, not less than quarterly, as reasonably determined by the board” (Financial Code 14453), while Nevada state-chartered credit unions are required to meet “as often as necessary to accomplish their duties, but not less than once a month” (NRS 672.360).

Porter is a former bankruptcy and law school professor. She is also a junior member of the House Financial Services Committee. Her expertise in corporate governance — especially in the financial services sector — makes her the ideal legislator to carry this bill.

Amodei has championed several credit union initiatives, including ensuring the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) remain independent of the U.S. Treasury Department.

The bill now joins a few other charter bills pending in Congress.

Strong CA and NV Turnout
This year, California and Nevada credit union leaders had a packed schedule meeting with regulators and their entire congressional delegations. The weeklong conference gathers credit union leaders from across the nation to advocate for credit unions.

The first day started with the Leagues’ legislative, regulatory and political briefing. With 300 California and Nevada credit union leaders in attendance, they assembled to bring a message to Congress and regulators about relief from regulatory burdens, the need to update the federal charter, the need to protect the movement’s tax status, and the need for a national security standard.

The Leagues would like to thank members from both states for making the trip to the nation’s capitol and advocating on behalf of the credit union movement. “We will now focus on follow-up with members of Congress back in our states,” said Jeremy Empol, vice president of federal government affairs for the Leagues.

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