Credit unions present their priorities to US presidential candidates

The sector outlined its concerns and expectations from the two candidates

With less than three months until the US presidential election, credit unions have shared their priorities with the Republican and Democratic candidates.

In a letter sent to president Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden, the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) highlighted the sector’s expectations of an incoming president.

“Credit unions are fundamentally different from for-profit financial institutions, both in purpose and structure” wrote NAFCU president and CEO Dan Berger.

“As owners of co-operative financial institutions united by a common bond, all credit union members have an equal say in the operation of their credit union – ‘one member, one vote’ – regardless of the dollar amount they have on account.”

Mr Berger touched on the challenges posed to credit unions by the Covid-19 pandemic, such as ensuring the health and safety of staff and members by minimising person-to-person interaction.

“Many credit unions have implemented programmes to protect their members’ financial health, including skipping payments without penalty, waiving fees, low or no-interest loans, loan modifications and no interest accruals,” he wrote.

To help credit unions continue to grow and serve their communities, Mr Berger proposes six priorities: supporting legislation and regulation that helps credit unions grow membership, loans and retained earnings; promoting innovation and establishing regulatory standards for fintech and data security; providing regulatory relief to credit unions; preserving credit unions’ federal tax exemption; encouraging government transparency and accountability; and pressing for the National Credit Union Association (NCUA) to be the sole industry regulator and ensuring it listens to credit unions’ voices and concerns.

NAFCU says it looks forward to working with the two candidates to address these concerns for credit unions and we would welcome the opportunity to engage with them.

Another apex body, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), has responded to Mr Biden’s decision to choose Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) as his running mate.

CUNA president and CEO Jim Nussle said: “While CUNA does not endorse presidential candidates, we congratulate Senator Kamala Harris on her selection as the Democratic nominee for vice president. During her tenure in the Senate, Senator Harris has proven that she understands the important role credit unions play in improving consumers’ financial well-being and advancing communities by supporting legislation that enables credit unions to better serve small businesses and underserved consumers.

“The amount of attention that today’s announcement is receiving underscores the energy voters feel going into this November’s election, and illustrates how crucial it is for every eligible credit union member to make their voice heard this fall.

“We encourage Americans to use to make sure they’re registered, learn more about their options for early voting and voting by mail, and find out who will be on their ballots.”