Today’s legislative climate is becoming increasingly complicated (and potentially perilous) for the not-for-profit Credit Union movement.
Over one hundred pieces of legislation which will impact a Credit Union’s ability to serve its members are expected to be voted on in the coming months. Several have been introduced in March, which would be extremely beneficial to Credit Unions, including our own:
Debit Interchange Fee Study Act (S.575/H.R. 1081)
As directed by the ‘interchange provision’ of the Dodd-Frank Act (passed by the 111th Congress), the Federal Reserve Board recently proposed a rule which would cap ‘interchange’ rates paid by merchants when their customers make payments using a debit card. Although the Federal Reserve Board was directed to exempt small financial institutions like Credit Unions, the rule essentially subjects us to the same interchange rates as large for-profit banks. Members of Congress have realized that this will not work, and believe that the implementation of this interchange provision should be delayed until it is studied and can be done properly. The DEBIT INTERCHANGE FEE STUDY ACT (S.575/H.R.1081) would delay the implementation of the rule and study its implications before proceeding.
UPDATE:BILL DEFEATED ON JUNE 8TH Despite the efforts of Credit Union members nationwide, this bill was defeated in a vote take on June 8th. While the vote was 54-45 in favor, it ultimately required a minimum of 60 yes votes for approval. We thank those members who contacted their legislators in support of this bill, and will keep you aprised of any future developments on this issue.
Member Business Lending (S.509)
Since 1998 Credit Unions have been subject to an arbitrary Member Business Lending (MBL) cap of 12.25% of a Credit Union’s total assets. The SMALL BUSINESS LENDING ENHANCEMENT ACT (S.509) would raise this cap to 27.5% of a Credit Union’s total assets. This would not only benefit the Credit Union movement, but also benefit small businesses who are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain credit from financial institutions. Reforming the Member Business Lending cap could provide up to $13 billion to small businesses in the first year alone, and create over 140,000 new jobs in the process.
Take Action Now
There are two ways you can take action to make a difference:
Connect for the Cause is a simple, free, and powerful way to make sure SF Fire Credit Union’s 29,000 members are heard. It not only keeps you informed, but also allows you to quickly send your elected officials a message.
To contact your Senators by email: www.connectforthecause.com
Please use the toll-free number below to call the offices of Senators Feinstein (CA) and Heller (NV). The phone number will prompt you with background information and a quick script to follow, and then connect you with your Senator. These phone calls will take very little time but are fundamental to our success.
To contact your Senators by phone: 1 (877) 422-3525