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Week ahead: Congress back, Caucus kicks off and more

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With members of the House and Senate returning to Washington following a summer recess, a host of issues pertinent to credit unions are back at the forefront.

Hundreds of credit union leaders are expected in Washington this week for the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions’ annual Congressional Caucus. While members of the government and others will speak during the morning, attendees are likely to spend their afternoons visiting with lawmakers and pushing the industry’s agenda in face-to-face meetings on the Hill. As reported, however, only a handful of the biggest issues facing the industry right now will be decided in Congress, while various regulatory agencies are likely to have a far greater impact on CU issues, given the divided nature of government today.

Credit Union Journal will have full coverage throughout the week of the NAFCU conference.

One of the top issues CU observers will be focused on in the days ahead is likely to be a Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday on housing finance reform. That comes less than a week after the Trump administration released a 53-page report on how it might remake housing finance, though plenty of questions remain regarding how feasible that plan might be.

The House Financial Services Committee, meanwhile, will entertain a hearing regarding student borrowers and accountability for loan servicers. Earlier this summer New York lawmakers released new loan servicing rules that could have an impact on some parts of the credit union industry, while a bill to protect student borrowers in California recently stalled in the state legislature there.

Lastly, credit union priorities could get the presidential treatment this week as the top-polling Democratic contenders meet for another debate. While past meetings of the candidates have been light on banking policy, Thursday’s clash in Texas could bring those issues to the forefront, both because a reduced field on stage may allow for more in-depth discussions, and because it marks the first debate meeting between Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Both candidates have been sharply critical of big banks, but they are by no means favored within the CU sphere. Many in the industry loathe Warren because of her involvement with the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, while Sanders – along with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – earlier this year pushed a plan that would have a dramatic impact on interest rates and, according to some CU observers, reduce consumer access to credit.

The debate airs at 8:00 P.M. ET Thursday on ABC.

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