Parsons' Perspective From the NAFCU Frontline
As my term as NAFCU's board chairman comes to a close, I would like to share some of my reflections about the past two years' activities. I am humbled to have had the good fortune to serve in this position and to have been granted a front-row perspective on the association's and industry's actions. The following are just a few highlights and some insights I've gained along the way.
For instance, as key lawmakers conducted their reviews for broad tax reform, NAFCU and the industry remained vigilant and made the case for credit unions' federal tax exemption. Because of what credit unions are and what they do for the economy, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., left the credit union tax exemption untouched in his massive tax reform draft. This win was a vote of confidence for credit unions and underscored the value that we provide.
Furthermore, over the past two years, NAFCU's regulatory affairs team has also spearheaded some important achievements to bring credit unions some much-needed regulatory relief, including:
- The expansion of credit unions' investment authority to help fight interest rate risk;
- CFPB's proposed amendments to Regulation P that would allow credit unions, under certain conditions, to post their annual privacy notices online rather than delivering them individually;
- NCUA's recent proposal that would eliminate redundant NCUA requirements to provide copies of appraisals upon request, as well as expand the exemption under which a credit union would be able to refinance or modify a real estate-related loan without having to obtain an additional appraisal: and
- A delayed compliance deadline to Aug. 1, 2015, for CFPB's final regulation on integrated disclosures under the Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.
A personal highlight from my time as chairman was being able to be a part of one of the association's top-tier advocacy efforts when I accompanied NAFCU's senior legislative and regulatory staff to a White House meeting in November 2013. It was a meeting to discuss credit union issues with Sam Brown, director of the White House Business Council, and John Friedman, special assistant to the president for economic policy and a member of the National Economic Council. The priorities we covered included the importance of the credit union tax exemption, regulatory relief for the industry, the CFPB mortgage rules, housing finance reform and the future of government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
While I am proud of all that the credit union industry and NAFCU have accomplished over the past two years, I am even prouder to have witnessed the industry's ongoing commitment to its members and communities.
I have learned from serving on NAFCU's board, and as its board chairman, the significance of volunteering within the credit union industry. Simply put, the credit union industry would not be where it is today without volunteers — credit union members — who, on their personal time and with no pay, fill board and committee seats and bear significant fiduciary responsibilities to fulfill the credit union mission of helping people realize their dreams.
And finally, I would like to close this piece with the same advice I gave when I first became chair of NAFCU: "Every voice counts." Today, it is more important than ever to make your voice heard. You must not underestimate the impact of your credit union's voice on a national level. It is up to us, with NAFCU, to ensure that the laws and rules written in Washington help credit unions' efforts to serve members. In Washington, numbers count. In other words, the more of us who participate in the process, the better the outcome for the industry.
Congress Winding Down
With the 113th Congress only due to be in session for 43 more days, it is critical that we safeguard the progress we have made and prevent any unnecessary legislation from wreaking havoc within our industry. To offset the power of the banks and their deep, deep pockets, we must be proactive in our representation of our more than 97 million members. Frankly, the stakes are too high to stand on the sidelines. This is why events like NAFCU's Congressional Caucus, slated for Sept. 9-12 in Washington, are so important.
Your voice has also been instrumental in our latest regulatory challenge: NCUA's proposed, sweeping risk-based capital rule. The more than 2,000 comment letters and your attendance at the listening sessions have sent a clear message of our concerns to NCUA and will no doubt play a critical role in effecting the much-needed changes to this rule.
Again, it has been a terrific honor to help lead NAFCU and its efforts on behalf of federal credit unions, and I'm looking forward to continuing this work during the remainder of my term as a board member.
Mike Parsons is President and CEO of First Source Federal Credit Union and NAFCU Chairman.