WASHINGTON—Credit union trade groups are applauding the Senate’s Wednesday passage of a financial services appropriations bill that they say will help CUs better serve members in their communities.

The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill, which passed the Senate 92-6, provides $250 million in funds the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFI fund. CDFIs, including community development credit unions, give low-income communities traditional banking services such as savings accounts and personal loans.

The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions praised lawmakers for funding a variety of programs near and dear to credit unions’ hearts.

“NAFCU appreciates and supports the Senate’s efforts to fully and appropriately fund the CDFI Fund, [the National Credit Union Administration’s] Community Development Revolving Loan Fund and [Small Business Administration] loan programs important to credit unions," Brad Thaler, VP of legislative affairs at the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, said in a press release.

The bill still needs to be reconciled with a House-passed spending bill. That bill passed earlier this month and gave the CDFI fund $248 million. An initial draft of the legislation included $191 million for the CDFI fund.

CUNA representatives noted that the group lobbied for an increase from that figure. The House Appropriations Committee raised it to $216 million and three House floor amendments upped funding to $248 million.

The House bill also included a two-year delay on the National Credit Union Administration’s risk-based capital rule, which NAFCU said it will continue to push as both chambers reconcile their legislation.

As credit unions call to delay the rule the rule, NCUA on Thursday issued a proposal to delay the rule one-year from January 2019 to January 2020.

NAFCU is still pushing for modifications of the rule.

NDAA changes

CU trades also lauded the Senate for removing a provision to the National Defense Authorization Act they say is harmful to military credit unions. The bill passed the Senate 87-10. An earlier draft of the legislation included what CUNA and NAFCU said was a provision intended treat federal or state charted insured depository institutions equally with respect to the financial terms of leases, services and utilities. But the definition of “insured depository institutions” excluded credit unions.

The Credit Union National Association said the removal of the language will enable credit unions to continue to receive exemptions from costs associated to the furnishing of office space and land, including ATM placement, on military bases.

"We thank both chambers for considering our concerns and removing this unclear language from the NDAA," Jim Nussle, president and CEO of the Credit Union National Association, said in a statement. "We will continue to be vigilant to ensure credit unions in military communities can continue to provide safe and affordable products to help meet the needs of our country's servicemen and women."

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