The President's Perspective
by Jeff Olson

Greetings and welcome to the weird “Summer of COVID.”

Since early March, many of us have not seen much of anyone, aside from work colleagues and perhaps immediate family close by. Like you, over the past few weeks, I have started to notice many friends and acquaintances beginning to break out. So, with some vacation time that needed to be used up before the end of the month, I too ‘broke out’ and headed for the hills…literally. So, no ‘staycations’ for me this summer. I enjoyed a very relaxing 4th of July weekend in the mountains. And, it’s been quiet, peaceful (except for the fireworks), and rejuvenating. Best part – people are out and about. Yellowstone Park over the holiday weekend was busy with tourists from all over the country. Most were wearing masks and adhering to the recommended safety precautions. More importantly, folks were enjoying family time and getting out and enjoying some much-needed freedom. It was great to see! Speaking of which, after a quick canvassing of a number of our members and previous attendees, I’m very excited to share that we have decided to move forward with our CU Professionals Roundtable this summer! 

CU Professionals Roundtable – It’s a go!
After much serious consideration, CUAD has decided to move forward with our Credit Union Professionals Roundtable. We will be social distancing and taking all safety precautions so that you can attend with confidence and reconnect with your peers, something we are all looking forward to. This year, the Roundtable will be held in Jamestown, North Dakota, Thursday afternoon August 20. On Friday, August 21, we are looking forward to our annual Credit Union Foundation of the Dakotas Golf Scramble Fundraiser also taking place in Jamestown. The Roundtable discussion continues Friday morning, but will wrap up in time for attendees to head to the golf course! We hope while you are in town, you will consider attending both events! More Roundtable details will be announced later this week in the Memo. 

Eliminating FOM would be a major step toward promoting financial inclusion and financial well-being for all!
As I shared last week, the credit union movement gained a HUGE win last Monday! The U.S. Supreme Court denied the American Bankers Association's (ABA) petition to review NCUA's field of membership rule. This was the end of the road of ABA's 4 year-long legal battle to limit credit unions' access to members.
We have fought extremely hard on this issue. The decision is a decisive win for consumers and a great moment for the credit union movement. The rule, which was approved by the NCUA in 2016, allows credit unions to expand membership access to not-for-profit, financial cooperative services. The Federal Credit Union Act makes that mission very clear – “promote thrift and provide access to credit for provident purposes.” Our structure has never changed throughout our history. We have been — and always will be — not-for-profit financial cooperatives, which means credit union members are also owners; it’s the very root of our people-helping-people philosophy. Having expanded access to our services benefits the financial well-being for all. 

However, as exciting and rewarding as the FOM decision was, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – a case we've been engaged in since 2010, was disappointing.  The case would have had the CFPB move from a single director to a commission structure.  The Justices provided a complex ruling, saying the CFPB can have a director, but that the role must be ‘removable’ at will by the President. We're disappointed in the ruling and believe it will only strengthen the partisan nature of the Bureau moving forward. 

Cramer introduced CUNA Backed Bi-partisan Small Business Forgiveness Act. 
As Jay Kruse shared in his Legislative Update last week. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Senate Banking Committee members introduced the “Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act” bipartisan legislation to streamline forgiveness of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for small businesses.

“We can avoid the burdensome cost of superfluous bureaucracy required to arrive at the foregone conclusion of loan forgiveness by implementing a few commonsense changes,” said Senator Cramer. “The Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act would give small businesses peace of mind by eliminating unnecessary bureaucratic requirements and simplifying the process for forgiving smaller loans. I urge my colleagues to support it and to consider including it in any future relief package.”

The Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act includes forgiveness for PPP loans of $150,000 or less if the borrower submits a simple, one-page attestation form to the lender. It also ensures the lender will be held harmless from any enforcement action if the borrower’s attestation contained falsehoods.

The approximately 3.7 million PPP loans of $150,000 or less account for 85 percent of all PPP approved loans but only 26 percent of the PPP funds delivered. The cost of applying for forgiveness for a PPP loan of this size is $2,000 for the small business and $500 for the lender. The bipartisan legislation introduced today could save small businesses $7.4 billion and banks nearly $2 billion.

Credit Union 360 Degree Advocacy: 

  • SBA PPP Loans: We fully support a new bill that would simplify forgiveness from the PPP Loan program. Congress passed a bill this week that extends the deadline to apply for PPP Loans to August 8.
  • Regulation D: We continued our push for a permanent rule to remove the limit of account transfers under Regulation D.
  • PCA changes: We support NCUA's interim final rule that proposes temporary prompt corrective action (PCA) changes to provide agency staff and credit unions with additional necessary flexibility.
  • Anti-money laundering: We pushed the Senate to include the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 in this year's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). 
  • NCUA: We shared a letter with Chairman Hood regarding several policy changes we believe will help credit unions support members impacted by COVID-19.
  • Central Liquidity Facility: We support NCUA's temporary changes to the Central Liquidity Facility but will continue to push Congress for additional statutory changes.

Have a great week! 


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