Mellin, Nussle, Calhoun discuss CU priorities with Senate Majority Leader Schumer

Three credit union leaders had the opportunity yesterday to engage Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in an important discussion about credit union priorities.

Teachers FCU President/CEO Brad Calhoun, New York Credit Union Association President/CEO William J. Mellin, and CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle were joined by senior staff during the video conference with Schumer.

The three executives reiterated the credit union movement’s support for the majority leader, who in turn noted his strong support for the credit union movement.

During the meeting, Calhoun, Mellin and Nussle highlighted a number of credit union legislative priorities that they were seeking Schumer’s support on, including: marijuana banking, raising or eliminating the arbitrary member business lending cap, and the need for a robust, national approach to data security.

With New York legalizing recreational cannabis, the executives noted the urgency for a federal law — such as the SAFE Banking Act — permitting credit unions to serve the marijuana industry without fear of prosecution. Schumer, who has publicly supported a federal decriminalization of marijuana, expressed his support for the measure.

Schumer also expressed his support for lifting the credit union MBL cap, which the credit union executives noted would provide credit unions with more opportunities to lend to minority-owned and traditionally underserved businesses. Schumer has publicly supported raising credit union business lending authority, which is generally capped at 12.25% of assets, and has called the cap “a jobs killer.”

The majority leader also showed an understanding and a willingness to engage further on a federal framework for data security. The credit union executives explained that the patchwork of state-level laws is inconsistent with the realities of data security, which does not stop at state borders. Credit unions, which are already subject to strict data security standards, support a federal framework that would subject merchants to the same standards as financial institutions, while also providing for the ability to hold liable the party responsible for any data breach.

Finally, the credit union leaders shared highlights of credit union efforts during the COVID-19, noting the hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars in Paycheck Protection Program loans made by New York credit unions, as well as unique products and services offered outside of the PPP to support members and businesses.

“This was an extremely productive and insightful conversation with Majority Leader Schumer, who continues to be a great friend to credit unions,” said Mellin. “I would like to thank Sen. Schumer for his time, as well as Brad Calhoun and Jim Nussle for their engagement in the discussion and for offering their unique perspectives on the issues discussed. The Association looks forward to continuing the dialogue with the majority leader and the rest of our elected officials in Washington.”

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