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Recap: Cheney Testifies on Bankers' Bill   (Misc News: November 17, 2011)

CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney used his time on Capitol Hill to stress that credit unions and community banks should be working together in pursuit of regulatory relief legislation, but noted that when credit unions are the ones proposing such legislation, banks oppose it.

Cheney was asked to testify before the House Financial Services Committee regarding H.R. 1697, the Communities First Act. The measure would expand the ability of some community banks to incorporate under Subchapter S of the Internal Revenue Code.

In his testimony, Cheney encouraged Congress to take a balanced approach to regulatory relief that would benefit both credit unions and community banks, calling on them to combine credit union member business lending legislation with community bank regulatory relief legislation.

Cheney told the committee that credit unions will oppose letting any regulatory relief legislation for banks move forward without similar relief for credit unions, and some members of Congress seemed to agree. In an email, Cheney described what happened toward the end of the hearing when U.S. Rep Brad Sherman, D-Calif., asked the bank witnesses why the committee should help the banks and not the credit unions. 

 “The banks replied with the argument that if credit unions wanted to do more business lending, they should convert to a mutual thrift charter. Dismissing the response, Sherman pointed out he had been waiting for many of his Republican colleagues to convert to Democrats but it was unlikely to happen.” 

Cheney called the experience “a good day for credit unions on Capitol Hill,” noting that a credit union representative being called to testify at a bank hearing marks a major milestone.

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