CUs Engage Capitol Hill Leaders in First Week of 'GAC'

Corporate board room

California and Nevada credit unions launched into this year’s extended virtual Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) by meeting with National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board Chairman Todd Harper, participating in a fundraiser for Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA), and awarding an important annual scholarship this past week.

Going into next week, attendees will bring the credit union message to their members of Congress, senators, and regulatory officials. They are equipped with key facts and talking points surrounding legislative and regulatory issues that impact credit unions and their members.

“We want to thank everyone who attended this week’s events and also plans to step up their advocacy going into next week,” said Jeremy Empol, vice president of government affairs for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. “This virtual program is different than anything we have done. However, it is very necessary given the trying and challenging times of this pandemic. Under new majorities, Washington has begun to function — and financial institutions are very much a part of the discussion.”

Legislative issues will focus on credit unions’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting members’ financial wellbeing, modernizing the credit union charter to allow for greater financial inclusion, unique products and services offered to members, and protection of consumer data.

Regulatory issues discussed and communicated to the NCUA include regulatory burden, capitalizing interest on mortgage loans, asset thresholds, the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF), net worth relief, risk-based capital (RBC), the Financial Accounting Standards Boards current expected credit loss (CECL), extended examination cycle, streamlines and virtual examinations, and cybersecurity. Additionally, topics for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) include tailoring regulations to credit unions, COVID-19 flexibilities, remittances, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), data points, the ability-to-repay/qualified mortgage rule, Unfair, Deceptive or Abusive Acts or Practices (UDAAP), and short-term small dollar lending.

CU Leaders Meet with NCUA’s Harper
Credit union leaders met virtually with NCUA Board Chairman Todd Harper on Thursday. The meeting provided an opportunity for a great dialog between the NCUA and League members.

Harper discussed several issues, including consumer financial protection, the proposed rule on capitalization of interest, and the NCUSIF. A big “thank you” goes out to everyone who participated in this important virtual event. 

2021 CU Memorial Fund Scholarship Recipient
The Leagues honored Kelly Purcell on Wednesday by awarding the 2021 Kelly J. Purcell Credit Union Memorial Fund Scholarship to Alfredo Gonzalez, who is pursuing a master’s degree at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management.

One of the reasons Gonzalez decided to pursue a career in politics is because of the complex political situation in his home country of Venezuela. “Thank you for your support and providing me with the resources to continue my studies,” Gonzalez said after he was honored with the scholarship.

The scholarship is now in its 15th year. Purcell was an important League staff member and advocacy team player who tragically died in 2006. The scholarship fund that was founded out of Purcell’s passing is fully endowed by credit unions (beginning in 2007) and supports one recipient every year who is working through the master’s degree program at the university’s political management school. Purcell was a graduate of the school (class of 2000).

Fundraiser for Senator Alex Padilla
On Wednesday, 42 leaders from 21 credit unions across California came together to show support of their newly appointed U.S. senator — and a friend of credit unions — Alex Padilla.

The afternoon was spent discussing Padilla’s transition to his new role, committee assignments, data security, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), the COVID-19 relief package specific to small businesses, the housing crisis, and how society combats climate change together.

The senator has a long list of priorities and there is much work that needs to be done. Credit union leaders were able to share some important snapshots of what it’s been like to support their members during the pandemic. Padilla was extremely grateful for the work that credit unions continue to do to support their communities, especially the most vulnerable populations of California. He was very appreciative of credit unions’ early support to his campaign.

A special “thank you” goes to all participants who helped raise $30,950 toward Padilla’s re-election.

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