The start of the new year brings new energy and motivation to tackle issues facing us. For NAFCU, our mission and values to provide the credit union industry with unwavering federal advocacy, award-winning compliance assistance and top-rated education remain steadfast. But as we enter 2023 with a new Congress, we are doubling down on our efforts to help our member credit unions achieve your ultimate goal: growth.
The 2022 midterm elections have changed the composition of Congress and brought new faces to Washington. With a slim majority for Republicans in the House and a Democrat controlled Senate and White House, finding common ground to pass legislation will be critical. As a nonpartisan advocacy organization, we build relationships with members of both parties and work tirelessly to ensure decision makers know the good work credit unions do for their communities and constituents, and how their decisions ultimately impact your success.
And, thanks to your backing of our advocacy efforts, the credit union industry enjoys broad bipartisan support on many of our priorities.
We know growth is critically important to the credit union industry, which is why we consistently advocate for a legislative and regulatory environment that supports that. That includes ongoing efforts to preserve the credit union tax exemption and make clear the economic benefits of credit unions’ tax status.
NAFCU also works to advance proposals that will expand credit unions’ investment options and allow the industry to meet the financial needs of underserved and unbanked communities through field of membership reforms. By explaining the benefits of allowing credit unions to serve more members, we also fight against bad policies like postal banking or granting the NCUA additional Share Insurance Fund premium assessment authority.
A component of growth is the ability to take advantage of new technologies and innovation. We hear every day how credit unions are working to provide the latest products and services that make managing finances and meeting financial goals easier. As you’re pursuing innovation, we’re fighting for a fair regulatory environment and level playing field to ensure you can compete against banks and nontraditional financial institutions.
With more developments in faster payments, artificial intelligence and machine learning entering financial services, we want you to have the ability to implement them and partner with vendors without overburdensome regulations.
On the regulatory front, obtaining relief remains a top priority. We believe a strong NCUA should be credit unions’ primary regulator, but there are several changes we’d like the agency to implement to reduce costs and compliance burdens, as well as streamline the examination process with modern approaches and consistency. Among other regulators, such as the CFPB, we will continue to highlight the unique structure of credit unions and fight for safe harbors in rules that are meant to target bad actors.
Speaking of bad actors, they need to be held accountable. Accountability is also needed in other forms, including data security and privacy. For far too long, credit unions have footed the bill when retailers or fintechs experience data breaches. Our industry is held to high standards to protect members’ sensitive information—that should be the expectation across the board.
In this digital age, modernization and reforms are needed. NAFCU will continue to advocate for credit unions in policy discussions to ensure you are treated fairly and given the same opportunities to grow as fintechs and others are afforded. Thanks for entrusting us with your voice in Washington. Let’s get to work.
Connect with B. Dan Berger on Twitter, @BDanBerger, and on his blog at www.nafcu.org/berger-leadership-blog.