The Nebraska Credit Union League held its annual Hike the Hill on July 18-20th in Washington D.C. In addition to League staff, credit union representatives from each of Nebraska’s three Congressional Districts participated including Peg Niedbalski of Columbus United FCU (1st Congressional District), Steve Swanstrom of Centris FCU (2nd Congressional District), and Dee Schriner of Trius FCU (3d Congressional District).
The group attended the Nebraska Breakfast which is hosted by Nebraska’s Congressional Delegation for any visitors to Washington D.C. from Nebraska and it has been hosted since 1943. There were several groups and visitors in at the breakfast besides Nebraska credit unions including the Retail Federation and the Farm Bureau. Each of our Congressmen and Senators provided remarks discussing what their offices are working on and Congress in general.
During the Hike, we visited the offices of each of our Congressmen and Senators as well as met with NCUA Board Chairman Mark McWatters at the NCUA Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. During each of our visits, we discussed the need for regulatory reform especially reforms to the CFPB and a total exemption for credit unions from the CFPB’s rules and regulations. The advocates gave specific examples of how recent regulations have added to the cost and paperwork of products and services with no real benefit to members/consumers. We discussed tax reform and the importance of protecting our credit union tax status. Also, we discussed the increasing rise of merchant data breaches and with that rising costs to the credit union and its members. We urged Congress to hold merchants to the same standards as financial institutions when it comes to protecting sensitive consumer financial data. The advocates cited local data breaches and provided specific costs relating to breaches.
During our meeting with Senator Sasse’s office, we focused on exempting credit unions from the CFPB’s rules and regulations. Last year, he authored a letter that 70 Senators signed to CFPB Director Richard Cordray urging him and the Bureau to use its exemption authority for credit unions. We thanked him for his leadership on regulatory relief and urged him to continue pushing for relief and reforms.
We met with NCUA Board Chairman Mark McWatters at NCUA headquarters. During our nearly hour long discussion, Mr. McWatters outlined some of his priorities. First, he discussed that he wants to continue to work on regulatory relief as they have over the past couple of years including the Member Business Lending rule and the Field of Membership rule.
The banking industry filed a lawsuit against the NCUA’s FOM rule and it is in the very early stages which McWatters says is a very slow process. He discussed the NCUA’s merger rule and that a primary objective of the rule is to provide transparency for credit union members. He discussed several things that he has been working on including “virtual examinations” which he believes will benefit not only credit unions but also the NCUA. He said that they are in research and development on new approaches to operating more efficiently and better. He discussed the closing of the stabilization fund and the goal of making distributions back to the credit unions in the next several years perhaps as early as 2018. There is one vacancy on the NCUA Board and Member Metsger’s term expires in August. At the League Annual Meeting, Member Metsger said that he would likely continue to serve on the Board after the expiration of his term but didn’t say for how long.
Pictured Above (L-R): Steve Swanstrom, Centris FCU; Dee Schriner, Trius FCU; Peg Niedbalski, Columbus United FCU.
Pictured Above (L-R): Dee Schriner, Trius FCU; Scott Sullivan, NCUL; Steve Swanstrom, Centris FCU; Congressman Don Bacon; and Kyle Noyes, Rep. Bacon’s Office.
Pictured Above (L-R): Brandon Luetkenhaus, NCUL; Steve Swanstrom, Centris FCU; NCUA Chairman Mark McWatters; Dee Schriner, Trius FCU; Peg Niedbalski, Columbus United FCU; and Scott Sullivan, NCUL.