Welcome to the MCUL May Priority Report.
This month’s report includes the latest status on important advocacy issues, an update on our Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union campaign that launched in April, information on upcoming educational and compliance opportunities, plus delivers an update from the Michigan Credit Union Foundation and CU Solutions Group.
New this year we have been sending our members monthly detailed advocacy updates. We hope you are finding these more detailed reports useful. In our priority report like this one, we will reference some, but not all of those issues. For a complete detailed summary, the monthly advocacy update is your best resource.
SAFE Banking Act & COUNTER Act
MCUL and CUNA are working hard to advance pro-credit union legislation in Washington, D.C. We are pleased to see the Financial Services Committee in the U.S. House pass two important bills recently:
First, the Committee passed the SAFE Banking Act recently. The bill would prevent federal regulators from punishing credit unions and other financial institutions that service cannabis-related businesses. Currently, 172 members of the House have co-sponsored the bill, including eight members of the Michigan delegation. It’s extremely encouraging that seven of the eight Michigan House co-sponsors, along with Senator Peters, agreed to sign onto the bill shortly after our CUNA GAC Hill visits with them. This reflects the relationships we’ve built with the delegation and our ability to advocate effectively on the issue.
In addition to the SAFE Banking Act, Congress recently introduced the STATES Act (H.R. 2093 & S. 1028). The bill is broader in scope than the SAFE Banking Act but for our purposes, it provides financial institutions with the safe harbor protections necessary to service these businesses. Leaders from the State of Michigan are standing up to urge Congress to address this issue as well. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel was among a bipartisan group of state attorneys’ generals to sign on to a letter to Congress urging passage of the SAFE Banking Act.
Also, DIFS Director Anita Fox, joined 24 of her counterparts from across the country in signing on to a letter to Congress urging them to pass legislation that creates a safe harbor for financial institutions to serve state-compliant businesses. Members of the MI House and Senate are working on a resolution urging Congress to pass safe harbor legislation. So, MCUL and CUNA are working hard on this important issue and we are hopeful that we will see a positive outcome with this Congress.
Next, on May 9, the Committee unanimously passed the COUNTER Act. The bill provides Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering relief to credit unions by indexing Currency Transaction Report thresholds for inflation and requires FinCen, in consultation with industry stakeholders, to study the design of a modified Suspicious Activity Report form.
The reforms included in the COUNTER Act would bring meaningful relief to credit unions and shine the light on how outdated and burdensome laws and regulations negatively impact credit union members and credit unions. Given this positive bi-partisan committee action, we are hopeful that this legislation will also make it through this Congress successfully.
Data Security, Telephone Consumer Protection Act & Minority Homeownership
Regarding data security and privacy, MCUL and CUNA continue to fight for critical data security and privacy legislation. MCUL and Michigan credit unions continue to educate members of the delegation and their staff on the issue during in-district meetings and call on them to support strong data security legislation. CUNA wrote to U.S. House and Senate leadership recently calling on Congress to treat data privacy as a national security issue and to pass legislation to establish a federal data security standard that preempts state laws.
As for the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, CUNA wrote leadership of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government recently urging them to encourage the FCC to modernize its regulations for the TCPA. The TCPA restricts the making of telemarketing calls and the use of auto dialing systems and artificial or pre-recorded messages and the FCC has failed to update the regulations to reflect the desires of consumers in a mobile age.
CUNA and MCUL are concerned about partisan efforts to enable banking services by the U.S. Postal Service. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) recently introduced legislation they believe would help the underserved and unbanked gain access to financial services by permitting the USPS to offer certain financial services and products. Postal service banking is not a new idea but CUNA and MCUL have expressed our opposition to authorizing the postal service to re-enter the banking services arena as there already exists plenty of private sector options for consumers, including those offered so well by credit unions.
And finally, regarding Minority Homeownership, in a letter to Congress, CUNA expressed the credit union industry commitment to ensuring the housing finance market continues to be both accessible and affordable to minority borrowers. MCUL and CUNA are committed to protecting credit unions’ important role in home mortgage lending as housing finance reform legislation gains traction with this Congress.
Auto Insurance Reform Legislation & Elder Abuse Task Force
At the state level, while a lot of the legislature’s energy is focused on the Governor’s proposed 45-cent tax hike to fix the roads and the fast-moving auto insurance reform legislation, certain credit union-friendly legislation is also being considered.
But first on auto insurance reform, our members should know that MCUL is advocating for legislation that makes auto insurance more affordable to consumers. Credit unions are all about providing access to affordable financial services and this extends to auto insurance. Michigan’s laws need to be updated and we will advocate for bi-partisan reforms that achieve this.
We are also pleased that MCUL-supported data breach legislation has passed out of the House Financial Services Committee and is making progress.
And there is also a package of bills on the prevention of elder abuse that have been introduced, and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has convened a state Elder Abuse Task Force to review and make recommendations on how to educate the public on the problem. MCUL is represented on that task force.
Moving on to consumer awareness, your support for cooperative advertising is appreciated as we launch our latest CU Link campaign under the theme, “Open your Eyes to a Credit Union” in conjunction with CUNA and other state leagues. If your credit union has not yet made the decision to make a full-share contribution or if you have not yet taken steps to integrate your branding with the campaign, we invite you to visit our mcul.org website for information.
On a related note, we believe that cooperative advertising is vitally important to our advocacy efforts as we communicate the credit union difference in communities and online all across our state. Your funding support is greatly appreciated.
And now, looking at updates from the Michigan Credit Union Foundation (MCUF), a recently formed young professional network group – FUEL – which is supported by the Foundation, already has 50 members. FUEL stands for “Fueling, Uplifting, Educating Leaders” with a tagline of “Young Professionals Sustaining the CU Movement”. Contact the Foundation to see how your credit union can help with professional leadership development through FUEL.
Also, Enhanced Financial Counseling Certification training kicks off this month for 85 participants. MCUF keeps the program affordable and enhances CUNA’s self-study curriculum with group webinars and live training sessions in Michigan.
With funding from 60% of Michigan credit unions and 20 businesses already this year, the Foundation aims to provide $190,000 to support credit union community reinvestment and financial education activities. Your financial contributions for the Foundation are so important and in turn all credit unions should consider applying for relevant grants to support their community involvement and financial education efforts.
On the education front, following the AC&E in Detroit, we have a full calendar planned for the remainder of the year. We are looking forward to bringing you the Executive Summit in mid-September at Bay Harbor, followed by the Fall Leadership Development Conference in Traverse City. Late September brings IRA and Health Savings Workshops in Traverse City, followed by Fall sessions on Lending, Telephone Collections, and a Contact Center Conference. Last year the Call Center Conference was sold out, so we’ve expanded it for this year.
We hope credit unions who are registered for the AC&E will take advantage of a complimentary offer to sign-up for either Inside CU Compliance or Inside CU Young Professionals which take place on June 6. One session of the Inside CU Compliance will assist credit unions in understanding FASB’s Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) rule, which will take effect Dec. 15, 2021. Since CECL is such an important topic, we will be offering additional CECL sessions at the upcoming Executive Summit and Fall Leadership events. Our regulatory affairs group is also putting together a Regulatory Exam Enhancement Task Force to better understand and work to pave the way for a better examination experience with both the NCUA and DIFS. As always, MCUL will continue to identify ways to assist credit unions with compliance.
CU SOLUTIONS GROUP
Switching to a brief update from CU Solutions Group, the Technology Solutions division at CUSG is securing additional reseller agreements to integrate with LifeSteps Wallet, our mobile banking+ app that works to keep credit unions competitive with tech-savvy neo-banks. Current credit union clients are excited for our latest partnership with real estate tech company NestReady and our exclusive rights to their homebuying experience solutions for the credit union industry. To further expand our fintech offerings, we’ve created LifeStep Solutions, LLC, a fintech subsidiary of CUSG. I’ll be talking more about future developments and investment opportunities with our new subsidiary at the upcoming AC&E.
In Marketing Solutions, GSTV is harnessing the latest advancements in device data and geospatial analytics. Credit unions can leverage these insights to better direct their marketing efforts, and many of our clients are already seeing the value of device tagging in proximity to their GSTV-aired messages, allowing them to retarget key audiences.
As a business partner of MCUL & Affiliates, credit unions can use their CU Link integration dollars for GSTV media placement. With the national- and state-level launch of the Open Your Eyes campaign, this is a perfect time to reach families gassing up their vehicles for summer vacations.
Our Performance Solutions division recently announced a strategic alliance with the Canada-based CU Training, acquiring exclusive interest in their learning management suite. This new relationship will expand and enhance our delivery of learning management software and content. We’ll be offering these capabilities in conjunction with Performance Pro, our performance management software, as well as a standalone product called The Learning Center, or TLC 360.
Visit our CUSG website or talk with one of our performance solutions team members about how this new learning management system can help your credit union with staff development, whether you integrate it with your performance pro product or not.
Strategic Advisory Solutions
Over to Strategic Advisory Solutions — our compliance and leadership experts have been hard at work creating a Compliance Officer Boot Camp eSeries. These live, online tutorials will take place on four dates, beginning in June and running through September. Among other important areas, participants will learn how to interpret regulations, take on regulatory compliance, understand due diligence requirements and investigate suspicious activity. You can register for this or any of the eSeries by emailing our Strategic Advisory team. Additionally, AC&E attendees can access exclusive savings on the eSeries with a promo code found in the conference booklet.
Finally, we’d like to invite our affiliates to watch the latest installment of my CUInsight column, CUSG CEO Connect. In the May video and article titled “Selling Payments and Wealth Management Services in an ‘Age of Continuous Connection,’" Adams discusses how credit unions need to reassess how effectively they meet members’ savings and investment needs in an economic climate where loan demand is outpacing savings. Both the article and video are available at the CUSG, MCUL and CUInsight websites.
That’s all for this month’s edition of Priority Report. If you have questions or suggestions on how MCUL and CUSG can better meet your needs, we welcome the opportunity to serve you.
My team and I hope to see you at the MCUL/CUSG Annual Convention & Exposition in Detroit on June 5-8.