Maine Credit Unions Make Their Voices Heard in Washington, DC

Maine credit union representatives pause for a photo in the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building.

Credit union advocacy was front and center this week during the League’s annual Hike the Hill trip. Fifteen credit union representatives from eight credit unions joined League staff in Washington, DC, to meet with Maine’s congressional delegation and federal regulators to discuss timely policy issues. The trip also provided a unique opportunity to collaborate with peers from the League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates at a special reception at Credit Union House on Tuesday evening.

“This year’s Hike the Hill was full of meaningful opportunities to both connect and collaborate,” shared Ellen Parent, League Regulatory & Legislative Advocacy Coordinator. “I’m glad we were able to kick-off the week’s festivities with our colleagues from Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. It was a wonderful way to begin the trip and share ideas for moving the credit union advocacy agenda forward.”

Wednesday was spent at the capitol for meetings with Senators King and Collins in the morning, and Representatives Golden and Pingree in the afternoon. During each briefing session, Maine credit union advocates discussed their strong support for lifting the cap on Member Business Lending and for a national data security and data privacy law. They also vocalized their opposition to the Credit Card Competition Act of 2022, introduced by Senators Durbin and Marshall, which would impose new credit routing mandates that would give retailers—not consumers—the power to decide which credit card network is used.

“Discussing our concerns about the Durbin/Marshall bill was a top priority for us during this trip,” shared Robert Caverly, League Vice President of Advocacy & Outreach. “We wanted to make sure that in each meeting, we emphasized that consumers, small businesses, and small community financial institutions will lose the most if this legislation is enacted. We drove home the point that interchange fees are part of the cost of doing business and that too much would be at stake in terms of data security should this bill move forward.”

Marijuana banking and credit union board modernization were among other topics discussed with the delegation. Maine credit unions’ involvement with the successful execution of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) also was acknowledged.

The trip wrapped up on Thursday following meetings with NCUA Vice Chairman Kyle Hauptman and CFPB Director Rohit Chopra.

Credit union representatives will return to Washington, DC, in 2023 to attend CUNA’s annual Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC). That event is happening February 26 – March 2, 2023. Registration is open and the League’s Governmental Affairs team will provide additional trip details soon.

“In just a few very busy days, Maine credit unions accomplished a great deal in terms of promoting the policy issues that are important to us,” added Caverly. “The dialogues with both our elected officials and regulators were highly impactful, and I am deeply appreciative to everyone who took time to join us on the trip.”