With the Senate expected to vote soon on a bill that would provide regulatory relief for community banks and credit unions, CU trade groups are kicking their grassroots advocacy efforts into high gear.

Following a cloture vote of 67 to 32, senators are set begin debating the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S.2155), sponsored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and co-sponsored by 12 Democratic senators.

Depending on when senators reach an agreement, a vote could take place sometime this week or early next week.

Ryan Donovan, Credit Union National Association
Ryan Donovan, chief advocacy officer at the Credit Union National Association

“We knew that the bill had strong Democratic support when we saw the cloture vote,” Ryan Donovan, Credit Union National Association ’s chief advocacy officer, told Credit Union Journal. “It will be interesting to see what [Sens.] Sanders and Warren are permitted to offer.”

The bill is yet another attempt to dismantle parts of Dodd-Frank, the banking regulations championed by Sanders, Warren and other liberal members of the Senate.

CUNA President and CEO Jim Nussle also took to social media to urge advocates to call, tweet, or email legislators in support of the bill, along with reaching out to local media to voice support. At the trade association’s Governmental Affair Conference last week, credit union executives lobbied for specific provisions that would benefit credit unions.

“I think anywhere there’s been a Democrat that has supported … individual [credit union] provisions, those folks are the ones [credit unions] should continue to talk with,” Donovan said.

Carrie Hunt, EVP of government affairs and general counsel for the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., explaining how key components of S. 2155, The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, would affect the credit union industry.

Among the benefits of the bill Hunt outlined:
· Section 101, which provides regulatory relief on certain mortgage loans
· Section 104, which provides relief from new Home Mortgage Disclosure Act reporting requirements for smaller lenders
· Section 105, exempting loans for one-to-four-unit non-owner occupied dwellings from the CU member business lending definition
· Section 110, allowing members to no longer wait three days for a credit union to provide them with better terms before closing.

Brad Thaler, VP of legislative affairs at the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions
Brad Thaler, VP of legislative affairs at NAFCU

Both CUNA and NAFCU are encouraging credit unions in states with Democratic senators to lobby their legislators.

“It’s an important opportunity for credit unions to see regulatory relief,” said Brad Thaler, NAFCU’s vice president of legislative affairs. “It is probably the most comprehensive regulatory relief to come onto the Senate floor in over a decade for credit unions.”