What a year 2019 was for Hike the Hill. In May, we saw Oregon, Washington, and Idaho visit the Hill in an effort to help credit unions ensure their voices were heard from elected representatives. But the credit union community did not just hold one Hike the Hill. Instead, there were events spread throughout the year where there were multiple states sending representatives to connect and speak with the many decision-makers at our nation’s capital about the credit union difference. There was Alaska in June and Nebraska in July, then the big congregations September through November.
And what fortuitous timing this year, as we saw some major legislation passed to benefit credit unions. During the course of this year, the advocates representing credit unions met with 17 members of Congress and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) chair Rodney Hood in September, and during that time, we saw some major movement on credit union legislation.
Such as the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act which passed a House of Representatives vote in September, and is poised to remove some barriers for credit unions in certain industries. There was contention from credit unions on the Senate National Defense Authorization Bill (NDAA) that would have affected many credit unions stationed on military bases, also addressed in the recent Hike the Hill meetings.
There were also discussions with the NCUA Chair Rodney Hood about cybersecurity and the Risk-Based Capital rule, as well as information about the agency's Modern Examination and Risk Identification Tool (MERIT). This could be a major effort to modernize the credit union examination program and is a part of the NCUA's enterprise-wide systems update that will ultimately replace the Automated Integrated Regulatory Examination System (AIRES). It has been over 20 years since such a major change has been made, and Washington would be one of the first states to pilot this program, which is looking for a 2020 rollout.
In October, there were more than 60 credit union representatives who hiked the hill to speak on behalf of the credit union community. There was more discussion on the tax status of credit unions, and of course more on the NDAA and SAFE Banking acts as well as even more cybersecurity issue discussions.
We can see that there is a lot going on in Washington that credit unions need to stay aware of and be a part of the conversation, which is the real strength of having the Hike the Hill programs. There are many who have gone to this year’s event that felt it was one of the most successful in recent history.
According to the NCUA, nearly 50% of all credit unions have dedicated their stance to help and support low-income families from all over the US. Amanda Farnham, an organizational development advisor from Royal Credit Union, has launched an advocacy program, right in time for this event. “I want to help educate lawmakers about the purpose of credit unions and talk with them about the financial issues that are facing young professionals,” Farnham said. “It's important to have meaningful discussions about how public policy can help young adults accomplish their financial goals and live their best lives. I'm also looking forward to sharing what I learn with my fellow YPs and mobilizing them to take action to make a difference in the credit union movement.” Meanwhile, in-between Hike the Hill efforts, credit unions have also met at the Credit Union House, located in Washington, DC (started in 1998 to help improve and increase credit unions' political involvement and advocacy efforts throughout the national level).
What can we do at Oak Tree to help our fellow #CUfamily and their members? Our goal and objective are to supply compliant forms and disclosures throughout all 50 states. We understand the ever-changing need for compliance and regulation changes. We support all credit union efforts to stay ahead in the financial market and look forward to 35 more years. Oak Tree’s reliable team strives to comply with both state and federal regulations and are standing by, ready to provide support for any membership and lending document changes as the industry expands.
As we continue to hear about how the November events played out, it is important to look at the future of how advocacy and community are important to credit unions across the nation. From "Day at the Capitol" to "Hike the Hill" events, it makes us proud to be a vendor to credit unions for all of their forms and document needs.
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