In recent weeks, New York state credit union leaders and staff from the New York Credit Union Association have been meeting with legislators as part of ongoing advocacy efforts.
As previously reported, credit union representatives met with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in early July, while additional meetings have been held with Rep. Claudia Tenney’s (R-24) office, Rep. Elise Stefanik’s (R-21) office and New York State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-10). Upcoming meetings are on the calendar for Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office, New York State Sen. Dan Stec (R-45), Sen. James Tedisco (R-10) and Rep. Joe Morelle (D-25), among others.
Of note, key discussions have focused on the Credit Card Competition Act of 2023 (CCCA), the SAFE Banking Act of 2023 and overdraft reform.
Calling it a “safety and soundness issue,” attendees told legislators that credit unions have an obligation to protect the private information of their members and the CCCA would only increase the challenges associated with doing so. Credit unions as card issuers are responsible for fraud. Whether it’s the cost of needing to reissue cards or the increased costs of fraud protection, these expenses will increase if the CCCA is passed and would ultimately impact credit union members in the form of increased fees, lower rates on deposits and higher rates on loans.
Passage of the SAFE Banking Act would carve a path for credit unions to provide financial services for the cannabis industry. But as long as marijuana remains a schedule-1 controlled substance under federal law, most credit unions say they cannot take the risk of providing services to marijuana-related businesses. The risk that is put on credit unions to participate in cannabis is great, however, so there is a clear need for parity at the federal level, attendees said.
Attendees also explained to legislators the unintended consequences of eliminating overdraft fees, and how overdraft reform would adversely affect certain members. Overdraft protections preserve the lifeline of many working-class families who elect to use and rely on them. Further, overdraft fees are not considered a revenue source for credit unions, with punitive fees extremely low in revenue and frequently rebated back to the member. Credit union leaders stated that if the overdraft rules and regulations are enacted, it will adversely limit their ability to help their members.
In addition to meeting with legislators, credit union leaders and Association staff met with Rodney Hood, NCUA board member, who was in Saratoga on Wednesday, Aug. 2. Topics included the state of the credit union system and NCUA priorities, as well as a discussion regarding issues of importance to credit unions.
Questions related to Association advocacy initiatives can be directed to the Association’s director of governmental affairs, Michael Colello, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 342-9835 ext. 8207.