CA and NV’s Role in New Federal Charter Bills

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Legislation and bills on a desk

It has been two weeks since the Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC). Part of the reason for the conference’s early-in-the-year date was to bring the credit union agenda to Congress. However, the truth is, Congress is hardly cyclical, which is why introducing legislation is part of the process, not necessarily an event.

To that, California and Nevada continue to be the breeding ground for credit union allies, supporters and the very few champions that the movement has in Congress. With elected officials, it’s not always the 80 percent you disagree about; it’s the 20 percent you do — and making that 20 percent count.

To that, credit unions have entered into a new phase with their legislative agenda, utilizing the industry’s congressional delegations to their maximum. Here are just a few items that have spun from the CUNA-League system. As a reminder, the legislative agenda is assembled by both the CUNA Advocacy Committee and its policy subcommittees, as well as the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ Advocacy Committees, which provide direction and policy approvals for all positions that the Leagues’ advocacy team communicates to elected officials.

This week, Sen.s Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced the Expanding Access to Lending Options Act, which raises the maturity limit on non-primary residence mortgage lending for federal credit unions. This modernization bill is long overdue, as most state charters do not have a maturity limit on these types of loans. Both senators hold seats on the Senate Banking Committee, which allows for good conversations as the committee begins to examine areas of policy updates.

A special recognition by the Leagues goes out to all Nevada credit unions, both state and federally chartered, as they have helped guide Cortez Masto’s team in understanding the need for this update.

Last week, on the House side, Reps. Katie Porter (D-Irvine, CA) and Mark Amodei (R-Reno, NV) joined forces to introduce H.R. 5981, the Credit Union Board Modernization Act. It’s another simple, yet equally important, parity bill that allows federally chartered credit unions flexibility in planning their board meetings. The legislation moves the monthly meeting requirement to a quarterly, and at least two meetings in a year must be in the same quarter for a total of six.

CUNA and the Leagues greatly appreciate the bipartisan effort between representatives Porter and Amodei, as Porter is on the House Financial Services Committee and Amodei is on the House Appropriations Committee — specifically the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.

Mr. Amodei is no stranger to credit unions. In 2017, he led the successful effort to ensure that National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) operating funds, as well at the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF), were kept separate from the general treasury of the U.S. government. He is, in all sense of the word, a champion for credit unions.

Both bills now need grassroots support to build and gain momentum in this session of Congress.

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