What the Election Means for NASCUS

A special message from Mary Martha Fortney, President and CEO
November 2012

With the elections over, NASCUS is looking ahead to what they mean for legislation and federal agency appointments of importance to the state credit union system.

Of critical importance to the state system, of course, are the NCUA Board appointments. As some have already pointed out, with Gigi Hyland leaving this past fall, Board Member Fryzel’s term expiring in August, 2013 and Chairman Matz’ term expiring in Spring of 2015, President Obama will likely appoint three new NCUA Board members before he leaves office. NASCUS sees this as an opportunity to successfully focus intense efforts on ensuring that there is a representative of the state system on the NCUA Board.

Speaking of NCUA leadership, there is critical change happening at NCUA at the management level as well. With Dave Marquis and Kent Buckham retiring at the end of the year, and Mark Treichel taking over as Executive Director, and a new Region 1 Director yet to be announced, NASCUS will continue to ensure the state prospective is heard and strengthen the partnership between states and the NCUA. With respect to incoming Executive Director Treichel, NASCUS expects to build on the solid relationship we have with Mark as Director of Region I. Kent Buckham's replacement, Gail Lester in the Office of Consumer Protection, is new to us, but we expect a strong working relationship there as NASCUS and state regulators have experience working with staff on House Financial Services Committee, where she has worked since 2007.

Beyond NCUA, what does the 113th Congress hold for NASCUS members? First, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus is term-limited and must step down as chairman. The growing consensus in Washington is that Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) will likely become Chairman. On the Democratic side, ranking member Barney Frank (D-MA) is retiring. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) will likely become Ranking member. In addition, new Republican and Democratic Committee members are expected to replace the members who are not returning to the 113th Congress. NASCUS is closely following the process as committee assignments are made. We will ensure the incoming Financial Services Committee is thoroughly briefed on issues of importance to the state system.

Of course, the Senate Banking Committee will change as well. Sources tell us that if Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) becomes Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee as expected, it is likely that Senator Michael Crapo (R-ID) will become Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee. Senator Crapo is a strong supporter of the state regulatory system. However, perhaps the biggest news with regard to the Senate Banking Committee is the developing battle over whether Senator Elect Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), "the architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau," will be appointed to the Committee.

Aside from NCUA board appointments, NASCUS remains focused on achieving supplemental capital for credit unions. In addition to educating new and tenured legislators about the state credit union system, NASCUS will continue its legislative advocacy for capital reform. Also on our watch list is proposed legislation (H.R. 1909 and H.R. 6139) that would establish a federal charter for non-depository consumer credit industries, including payday lenders, check cashers and issuers of stored value cards. In addition, we are monitoring S. 2160, the Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act, a nearly identical legislation to H.R. 3461, the House version of exam fairness. Though these bills on examination fairness focus on federal examinations only, NASCUS is watching closely for issues that might eventually impact the state system.

As announcements are made regarding Committees and other issues for the 113th Congress, NASCUS will post updates to its Legislative Affairs page here at www.nascus.org.

In the meantime, we are wishing all NASCUS members a very Happy Thanksgiving.