NCBA Echoes Congressional Concern on USDA Consolidation Proposal

NCBA Echoes Congressional Concern

NCBA Echoes Congressional Concern on USDA Consolidation Proposal

UnknownUnknown(WASHINGTON, DC) – The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) echoes the concerns voiced on April 24 by a number of bipartisan committee members in a budget hearing with the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, regarding USDA Rural Development’s “sweeping” proposal to consolidate agency programs including the Rural Cooperative Development Grant program through the Congressional appropriation process.

“NCBA is very concerned that USDA has overlooked the importance of rural cooperative development in its budget and is pleased that Rural Development officials faced many questions from members of Congress, including Chairman Robert Aderholt, about the Administration’s plan to simply merge funding of many crucial activities together without a clear strategy,” said Michael Beall, president of NCBA in a statement. “This plan removes the one funding mechanism for rural cooperative development, and we call on the Administration to rethink this important priority.”

On April 25, NCBA sent a letter to Chairman Robert Aderholt and Ranking Member Sam Farr expressing their deep concern on this matter.

In his opening statement of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies on April 24, subcommittee chairman Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-AL) said, “As noted in the testimony, USDA is the sole federal department charged with serving the needs of Americans who live in the rural parts of this nation… As the only federal department dedicated to rural America, I have to wonder if this budget request is truly in tune with its needs, especially the needs of rural Americans with the lowest incomes.”

In an earlier statement, NCBA expressed concern that the proposed consolidation of a number of unrelated rural development programs will diminish USDA’s focus and mission of supporting the advancement of cooperatives.

Contact: John Torres
202.383.5452

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Call to Action: Help Housing Co-ops Damaged by Sandy Receive FEMA Recovery Assistance

Calls to Action

Housing Co-ops Affected by Hurricane Sandy Need Your Help!

Housing cooperatives in the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland affected by Hurricane Sandy are ineligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) relief programs. FEMA misclassifies housing cooperatives as commercial business associations, making them ineligible for the agency’s Individual and Households Program.

As an NCBA member, you have the opportunity to change this!

Representative Steve Israel (D-NY) has drafted a letter alerting the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to this issue. If you live in these four affected states, NCBA strongly urges you to contact your representative and encourage them to sign the attached letter .

The deadline to sign the letter is March 13, 2013, so please contact your Members of Congress today.

Find your Member of Congress »

Thank you for your support of cooperatives.

If you would like to share the success of your advocacy efforts on this issue or have any questions, please contact NCBA’s Vice President of Advocacy, R.L. Condra at 202.383.5480.

Sincerely,

Mike_Beall_SignatureMike_Beall_Signature

Michael Beall
President and Chief Executive Officer

 

NCBA Supports Credit Union Legislation

On Feb. 22, 2013, National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) President and CEO Mike Beall sent letters to Capitol Hill to leaders in the House of Representatives in support of three bills that affect credit unions and their ability to serve their members.

NCBA is the oldest and largest national membership association dedicated to ensuring that cooperative businesses, such as credit unions, have the same opportunities as other businesses operating the United States and that consumers have access to cooperatives in the marketplace.

NCBA’s support of the legislation compliments the advocacy efforts of the Credit Union National Association and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.

Credit Union Small Business Jobs Creation Act (H.R. 688)

The Credit Union Small Business Jobs Creation Act would allow well-capitalized credit unions operating near the business lending cap to increase their business loan offerings to 27.5 percent of total assets, if they receive approval by the National Credit Union Administration.

The current cap was imposed by Congress in 1998 and limits most credit unions to lending no more than 12.25 percent of their assets to small businesses. Credit unions could lend an additional $13 billion to small businesses, helping them create over 140,000 new jobs in the first year after enactment if Congress increases the statutory cap on credit union business lending.

Capital Access for Small businesses and Jobs Act (H.R. 719)

This legislation would modify the definition of credit union net worth to include supplemental forms of capital for credit unions and allow the regulator to develop risk based capital standards for the purposes of prompt corrective action.

Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act (H.R. 749)

The Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act would require a privacy notification be sent to a member or customer when the policy changes, rather than every year—even when nothing may have changed.

The Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act is a common sense regulatory relief measure that would make privacy notifications more meaningful for consumers. In addition, this Act will reduce the amount of diverted time and resources that a credit union’s staff could be using for more important services to its members.

 

A Note on President Obama's State of the Union Address

Tonight in his State of the Union Address, President Obama talked about a path toward economic recovery and job growth. As CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association, I am confident that the cooperative business community will do its part to help to grow the economy. There are more than 29,000 cooperatives operating in every sector of the US economy, sustaining 2 million jobs each year, contributing $652 billion in annual sales and possessing $3 trillion in assets.

But cooperatives are more than dollars and cents. Cooperatives are sustainable businesses that represent the needs and interests of working families. Whether it's farmers looking for ways to get their products to market; consumers in search of healthy foods, affordable housing and financial services; small businesses seeking back office support and access to group buying power; or individuals looking for meaningful work, cooperatives offer a solution and an opportunity.

Because they focus on meeting the needs of their member owners, cooperatives have fared better during the recession than many for-profit businesses. Credit unions have seen tremendous growth as consumers seek institutions that value their members and offer better services. Worker cooperatives have grown as people take charge of their own economic situation. Consumer cooperatives are expanding and continuing to invest in their communities. Businesses of all sorts are forming purchasing cooperatives to aggregate their buying power and reduce the cost of doing business.

This year, as the president and Congress focus on growing small businesses and creating jobs, NCBA will seek to ensure they understand and recognize the success the cooperative structure can have in the economic recovery of our great nation.

Sincerely,

Mike_Beall_SignatureMike_Beall_Signature

Michael V. Beall
President and Chief Executive Officer

NCBA CLUSA’s 100th anniversary kickoff event features launch of bipartisan Congressional Co-op Business Caucus

NCBA CLUSA kicked off its 100th Anniversary at the National Press Club yesterday with the formal launch of the newly-formed bipartisan Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus and testimonies from a broad spectrum of co-op advocates ranging from top co-op executives to an Organic Valley farmer leading the “Generation Organic” revolution among new family farmers in the U.S.    

Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), caucus co-chair and founder, introduced the caucus and pledged its commitment to representing public and private sectors working to advance the cooperative business model.

Royce is a leading Congressional advocate for credit unions, mutual insurers and rural electric co-ops through legislation including the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Creation Act and the Electrify Africa Act.

“As a longtime advocate of cooperative business—from California’s credit unions and mutual insurers to Africa’s rural electric co-ops—I look forward to highlighting the benefits these organizations provide to their customers and their communities,” Royce said. “Cooperatives not only provide valuable goods and services around the world, but also offer their members a piece of their success,” he added.

Caucus co-chair Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) joined Royce at the press conference, pointing out that co-ops are integral to the U.S. economy because they create jobs that pay fair wages and offer member-owners a chance to directly shape business decisions.

100 kickoff judy 4cb51100 kickoff judy 4cb51["Co-ops go where investors can't or won't," NCBA CLUSA interim president and CEO Judy Ziewacz said at the launch of the organization's 100th Anniversary.]“I’m proud that my district is home to thriving cooperatives—from the Willy Street Co-op to the University of Wisconsin Credit Union,” Pocan said. Home to 80 cooperatives, Wisconsin’s Dane County has the highest number of co-ops per capita of any county in the nation.

“I look forward to working with Rep. Royce to promote greater awareness of the cooperative business model and to advocate on federal policy issues unique to the co-op community,” Pocan said, adding that the caucus will help Congress understand the “diversity and benefits” of cooperatives.

NCBA CLUSA has worked diligently on behalf of its member co-ops and supporters across the country to secure this caucus as a long-awaited federal outlet to raise awareness of the cooperative business model.

“We are thrilled by the formation of this historic caucus dedicated to advancing the role of cooperatives in the nation’s economy at the federal level,” said Judy Ziewacz, interim CEO and president of the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) CLUSA.

Cooperatives exist worldwide and inject $3 trillion into the U.S. economy every year. They create millions of jobs, can be found in virtually every sector of the U.S. economy, providing solutions to meet challenging public policy needs, from affordable housing to quality sourced food and greater access to electricity, banking and credit needs.

To learn more about the Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus and ask your representative to join, click here.


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