How to Impact Regulatory Change


by Justin hupfer

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 4.01.36 PMIt’s that time of the year when industry veterans and Washington insiders start to predict what action the next Congress may take that could impact credit unions. Given the relative inactivity of Congress over the past twelve months, we may be wise to be cautious if we’re predicting much of a change from the status quo.

That said, as the volume of regulatory activity from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has increased in recent years, credit unions would be wise to pay attention to regulators’ upcoming agendas.

My initial thought in writing this column was to do some looking ahead—largely relative to what’s likely to be coming down the pike next year from the CFPB and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). As I started putting my thoughts together, however, I found myself thinking more about the dichotomy of a stagnant Congress and the active regulatory agencies.

After passing Dodd-Frank in 2010, Congress has not done much substantively meaningful for credit unions in the past four years. Meanwhile, regulatory activity—much of it required due to Dodd-Frank—is creating pain points for credit unions in ways regulators may not fully appreciate.

Our firm, PolicyWorks, provides the legislative and regulatory advocacy services for the Iowa Credit Union League. As such, we are involved with the Iowa League’s state and federal advocacy efforts—both legislative and regulatory. I haven’t heard our Iowa credit union CEOs complain much about “pain” from Congress in the past several years, but nearly all of them speak to the Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 4.02.04 PMregulatory burden. As such, we had as many talking points for our regulatory meetings at our “Hike the Hill” trip to D.C. this fall as we did policy items to visit about with our congressional delegation.

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and state leagues have, for decades, been very strategic about state and federal lobbying efforts and how to use financial and grassroots resources to impact elections. I know those same groups are starting to create more focus and action around how to impact regulatory activity. This was evident with CUNA’s activity this year around the risk-based capital proposal. 

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