September Advocacy Update
Dear Credit Union Leader,
I would like to start this month with a note in honor of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her legacy – the impact she made on our nation’s highest Court, as an icon in American law, and as a fair and objective Justice who fostered judicial opinions that benefitted our nation. In a year where we were already so divided as a country, I hope that this moment in time gives our Congress and our nation an opportunity to strive for common ground and balance in our highest court.
For September, here are the updates you need to know:
The state legislature returned to work this month, with a deadline to complete the state budget by Sept. 30. A rare August Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference was convened, revealing that original projections of a nearly $3 billion dollar deficit have not held, but the state still had significant ground to make up in the absence of federal assistance. Despite many other political distractions, as we near the end of the month, the Whitmer Administration and state legislative leadership have reached a budget deal. Target numbers have been issued and work on details in individual departmental budgets has been ongoing. Barring any breakdown, most expect work to be finalized this week. We have worked closely with all sides to these negotiations on funding for small-dollar grants to counties for electronic recording upgrades. At this time, individual budget details have not been released, but we are hopeful for good news on that front in the coming days.
Rep. Diana Farrington’s legislation on data breach notification, HB 4186-87, passed the House this month on a 97-12 vote. For businesses with more than 50 employees, or franchisees of large businesses, this bill would cap the open-ended period in Michigan law to notify affected consumers of a data breach at 45 days following investigation and repair of systems. This timeframe is line with the national average of states that have adopted similar laws. The bill has been referred to the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee where we have been told initial hearings are likely before the legislature breaks for the election. We continue to monitor efforts to expand payday lending authority into installment loans, under HB 5097 by Rep. Brandt Iden. So far, the legislation has not progressed any further since its transmission to the Senate, and from our communications with DIFS and the Whitmer Administration, there is still significant opposition to the triple-digit APR for these loans under the bill. However, we still expect a push before the end of the year by its proponents.
HB 6030-32 and 6101, and SB 1022-24, addressing liability protections for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, are currently moving in both the state House and Senate. These bill packages would enact common-sense legal reforms to limit liability and help employers address human resources issues. The House Judiciary committee reported the House package on a vote of 8-3, with two passing. The bills are expected to be taken up by the full House prior to the legislative break leading up to the election. The Senate Economic and Small Business Development committee held their first hearing on the Senate bills last week, and additional hearings are expected in the coming weeks.
Among other priorities, our team has worked with Rep. John Cherry and stakeholders on HB 6007, part of a package of bills that would streamline the process for declaring mobile homes abandoned. As introduced, the bill would have allowed liens on any such mobile homes to be extinguished quickly and with little process. We have worked through a better process with the manufactured housing industry and are in the final process of ironing out details with consumer interests. Thank you to those of you that helped our team with your input and expertise on this effort. We have also worked with Rep. Matt Maddock and his policy staff on HB 5171, to allow Secretary of State services to be offered in financial institution branches. Our team has offered suggested amendments to ensure that this practice is limited to credit unions and banks, eliminate needless administrative process by the department and confine the bill to vehicle-based transactions.
Federally, the focus continues on the next round of stimulus. With the failure of a “skinny” Senate measure to pass, negotiations continue and the President has upped his suggestion to a $1.5T package. We are watching closely along with CUNA to see if this will include key credit union priorities, like PPP forgiveness or funding for housing assistance. In the interim, we continue to support inclusion of both of these issues in any final stimulus package. MCUL, CUNA and the other state leagues are also actively seeking adoption of an independent streamlined PPP forgiveness program, embodied in H.R. 7777 by U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Michigan’s own U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI). Our U.S. Reps. Paul Mitchell, Haley Stevens, John Moolenaar and Jack Bergman have also joined in with 83 total co-sponsors on the bill. The Senate version, S. 4117 by U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), is also pending.
As we pursue these issues, we remain hopeful but pragmatic about the overall timing of any further action. With the election drawing close, and the unfortunate passing of Justice Ginsburg likely to complicate Congressional politics for the next few weeks, we continue to advocate but are also tempering expectations. Please stay tuned for further developments, however, as each time a “deal” has come together it has happened relatively quickly.
The NCUA Board met on Sept. 17 and our team is reviewing the items discussed. The Board discussed their briefings on the share insurance fund quarterly report and the MERIT update; authorized an order granting an exemption from BSA Customer Identification Program (CIP) requirements for certain loans to facilitate purchases of property and casualty insurance policies; and finalized a recent interim final rule that temporarily allows credit unions to defer appraisals and written estimates of market value for up to 120 days after the closing of a loan.
At our monthly CEO call on Sept. 23, we will be joined by NCUA Eastern Regional Director John Kutchey. John will be discussing the examination environment, NCUA’s focus, and treatment of credit union efforts to assist members during the COVID-19 crisis. This should be a very productive and informative conversation, and we strongly encourage you to join us if you can. We are in discussions with the Michigan Secretary of State’s team on presentations regarding “electronic lien termination” and implementation (at long last) of the state’s system next March. Use of these systems will be mandatory when it’s up and running, so it is highly important for credit unions to be aware of their efforts and what is coming. Please keep an eye out for these.
As a reminder, if you have compliance questions that you want to discuss, we encourage you to email our team at ComplianceHelpline@mcul.org and they will assist or point you toward the resources that you need. Our association staff also stands ready to assist you – please reach out to Patty, Kieran or any member of our Advocacy Team.
PAC, ASFM and Elections
The 19th Annual ASFM Golf Outing to support the Michele Myrick Scholarship Program was held on Sept. 9 at MSU’s Forest Akers West golf course. Over 90 golfers participated this year, raising over $38,000 toward scholarships for credit union officials and volunteers to attend CUNA GAC and Hike the Hill, when we return to travel for these events hopefully next year. We are grateful to MSU’s team for helping to make this outdoor, socially distant event a success. We especially grateful to those of you that were able to sponsor the event or join us – it was genuinely great to see everyone.
The 2020 Plush Toy campaign is kicking off as well, and for those credit unions that have signed up to participate, we are in the process of getting the toys processed and shipped out. If you have any questions on this program (or any others), please contact Melissa Osborn.
Many of you are in the process of strategic and budgetary planning for next year. We will be sending a communication shortly about ASFM – participation in our annual golf outing, as well as individual credit union goals for the Issue Ad Fund. Please take a look at this and consider supporting both. The Michele Myrick Scholarship Fund is critically important for helping credit unions participate in our key DC advocacy events, and the ASFM Golf Outing is our primary driver to support it. The Issue Ad Fund is our war chest to defend our industry against banker attacks and highlight the successes of the industry, and highlight the support of policymakers for our most important issues. For this fund, we set annual asset-based goals for each credit union and we would be pleased to discuss any questions you may have.
our team is excited about the response so far to our call for “Hike at Home” – occurring virtually from Oct. 5-16. We are hard at work scheduling Congressional meetings, and will continue to communicate with you as the event approaches. Because we are virtual, it is much easier to open each of these meetings to any of our members that want to participate. Please consider attending for your own members of the Congressional delegation, as well as any you are curious about. You can register online at 2020 Virtual Hike the Hill Registration.
On Sept. 11, CUNA filed an amicus brief in the case Facebook v. Duguid, currently before the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. This case will decide the definition of “automatic telephone dialing system” (ATDS) for purposes of the requirements of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
As always, if you have any questions on these or other matters, please feel free to reach out to me or the Advocacy Team!
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