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.


NCBA CLUSA announces launch of Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus

NCBA CLUSA is pleased to announce that the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration late last month accepted the registration of the long-awaited bipartisan Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus for the 114th Congress.

Co-chaired by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), the caucus is tasked to promote the cooperative business model as a viable market solution and policy option to help solve today’s public policy challenges. The caucus will also serve to educate and inform policymakers on those issues before Congress, the Administration and the broader public.

“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 NCBA CLUSA. “We worked hard on behalf of our members and co-ops across the country to secure this caucus as an outlet for raising awareness of and advancing the cooperative business model.”

NCBA CLUSA will formally launch the Congressional Cooperative Business Conference at the kickoff event for its 100th anniversary. The January 13 event is expected to draw top co-op executives and lawmakers—including the caucus co-chairs—to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The caucus is a tangible result of last year’s Hike the Hill effort during NCBA CLUSA’s first advocacy-themed Annual Cooperatives Conference. During meetings with more than one-third of the Senate, NCBA CLUSA members and supporters asked lawmakers to support a cross-sector Congressional platform that would unite co-ops around their shared values and objectives.

Since then, NCBA CLUSA has worked with lawmakers to identify the scope and purpose of the Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus. Its key responsibilities are as follows:

- Provide opportunities and platforms to host leading cooperative experts and model practitioners to speak and demonstrate how their work advances the mission and goals of the caucus.

- Provide opportunities to connect likeminded and influential policymakers to leading cooperative experts and model practitioners.

- Organize occasional media announcements and events during pivotal times in the policy process to ensure that the caucus’ voice is heard and reflected in those discussions.

- Work to establish periods of recognition and/or awards that recognize the importance and leadership in the advancement of cooperative business.

The caucus comes during a time when NCBA CLUSA is making strides to advance the cooperative agenda at the federal level. In October 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture held the first meeting of the Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development—a provision NCBA CLUSA worked hard to ensure the inclusion of in the Farm Bill. In May 2016, NCBA CLUSA will host its second annual advocacy-themed Annual Cooperatives Conference.

“Going forward, this caucus will drive a significant portion of our advocacy work at NCBA CLUSA,” NCBA CLUSA’s Vice President for Advocacy, Alan Knapp, said. “The caucus will provide greater visibility, education and awareness of cooperative businesses among our federal policymakers and will work to demonstrate the impact those businesses have on our nation’s economy,” he said.

The caucus’ role dovetails with NCBA CLUSA’s wider objective, which is to convene and unify the cooperative sectors together around the common purpose of promoting the central goals, values and ideals of the cooperative business model, Knapp added.


Second USDA Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development to address co-op access to capital

The second meeting of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development will convene February 16, 2016, at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in Washington, D.C. to address access to capital for cooperatives, specifically inconsistencies in debt financing eligibility.

NCBA CLUSA, which worked diligently on behalf of its members and co-ops nationwide to establish a working group of federal partners to tackle issues facing the cooperative sector, is looking to the group to help clarify the regulations that currently govern a co-op’s eligibility to access debt financing through the SBA’s lending programs.

The SBA currently recognizes four different types of cooperatives: producer, purchasing, worker and consumer. However, only certain types of these co-ops under certain circumstances are eligible for SBA guaranty loans. While one SBA regulation indicates that all co-ops are eligible businesses, another excludes some types of co-ops and includes others.

Adopted in the 1960s, the language of these regulations is “outdated and does not reflect the evolving nature of cooperatives,” said Alan Knapp, NCBA CLUSA vice president for Advocacy.

Furthermore, the regulations have caused confusion and led many lenders to interpret the regulations broadly, denying access to most—if not all—types of cooperatives, Knapp added.

Regulatory clarity and consistency is needed from the SBA to grow and develop the cooperative sector going forward, Knapp said. “While some co-ops reach Fortune 500 status, the majority are small businesses [that] tend to rely on debt financing more than investor-owned businesses that can more easily access outside investment capital.”

The first meeting of the Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development took place in October 2015, with representatives from more than 15 federal agencies, including the White House Rural Council, the Federal Emergency Management Administration, Health and Human Services, Internal Revenue Service, Small Business Administration and the departments of Interior, Justice, Labor, Education and Commerce.  

The working group was created as part of the Agriculture Act of 2014 and included an NCBA CLUSA-requested provision that authorized, “the Secretary of Agriculture to coordinate and chair an interagency working group to foster cooperative development and ensure coordination with Federal agencies and national and local cooperative organizations that have cooperative programs and interests.”

NCBA CLUSA, in partnership with USDA and others, began working on this initiative more than two years ago. As a permanent vice-chair of the Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development, NCBA CLUSA’s role is to convene and facilitate. Through its Cooperative Leadership Coalition—comprised of organizations including the National Farmers Union, National Cooperative Bank, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and National Council of Farmer Cooperatives—NCBA CLUSA works to ensure the cooperative voice is cross sector and united in its engagement with U.S. federal agencies.

The Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development is hosted on a quarterly basis by various federal agencies, with each meeting focused on a specific issue facing the cooperative sector in the U.S.


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