California Credit Union League:
A Powerful Impact
Major Victories in California Legislature
Fighting for Your Credit Union
We consistently work with assemblymembers and senators to craft state laws that have a better impact on locally member-owned credit unions.
To view all 40 Assembly, Senate, and League-engaged bills, click here.
This bill provides credit unions additional flexibility to offer audio-visual or audio-only participation in board meetings until December 2025.
This bill establishes a framework for licensed California notaries to conduct remote online notarizations, including provisions for the licensure of remote online notarization platforms by the California Secretary of State and requirements relating to data security and privacy in online notarial transactions. The bill was amended late in session to add a delayed implementation of seven years. While the League does not agree with this lengthy delay, we are glad to not have to lobby on the issue every year.
This bill makes it an unlawful business practice to advertise, display, or offer a price for a good or service that does not include all mandatory fees or charges. As the bill is drafted very broadly, the League was concerned that laws such as Truth in Savings or Truth in Lending would not be compliant with the bill. The League was able to secure a carve-out for financial institutions that are complying with a bevy of federal and state laws and regulations.
This bill would hold credit unions liable for instances of elder financial abuse if they “should have known” that abuse was occurring. This bill was the League’s top priority during this session and the main talking point during the 2023 California Government Relations Rally (GRR). The League worked hard to show the efforts credit unions are currently taking to both identify and stop cases of elder financial abuse. The League was able to secure a “safe harbor” in the measure; however, the safe harbor would cause a great deal of angst for senior members of credit unions. The League is working throughout the fall on the issue.
This bill prohibits an employer from taking an adverse employment action against an employee because the employee declines to attend an employer-sponsored meeting regarding the employer’s opinion about religious or political matters. It defines “political matters” to mean matters relating to elections for political office, political parties, legislation, regulation, and the decision to join or support any political party or political or labor organization. The inclusion of regulations and legislation made this bill particularly concerning from the League’s perspective. If passed, a credit union could not mandate an employee to attend a meeting regarding an updated regulation.
Huge Accomplishments in Congress
Staying Alert on Your Behalf
We proactively stay ahead of congressional legislation in Washington, D.C. and important legislative and regulatory conversations that have ramifications for your credit union. The League is alert on Capitol Hill so you can focus on what you do best — serving your members. The 118th Congressional Session had not reached a halfway point when this was published in November 2023. Each Congress lasts two years, with the current session ending in 2024.
The League orchestrated opportunities for dedicated advocates to make their voices heard on 120 occasions, engaging face to face with members of Congress, congressional candidates, and their staff. From coast to coast, passionate credit union leaders told the story of the credit union difference across California, Nevada, and Washington, D.C. The League extends its heartfelt gratitude to all those who participated in the Government Affairs Conference (GAC), Hike the Hill gathering, and local meet-and-greets. Together, our dedication makes a huge impact in the advancement of our policy priorities. This impressive level of engagement showcases our movement’s unwavering commitment to advocacy and underscores the impact credit union leaders can achieve when we speak with one unified voice.
The League strongly opposes changes to credit card interchange and H.R. 3881 / S. 1838, the Credit Card Competition Act (CCCA). Although this standalone bill has not gained much momentum, authors of this legislation attempted to advance the measure by introducing the CCCA as an amendment to a spending measure in the Senate. With the assistance of credit union leaders and advocates, the League made our industry’s voices heard, sending thousands of messages opposing this measure. Ultimately, this bill was not included in any spending package as of November 6th, 2023. We will continue monitoring the bill and oppose any efforts to advance it. This ill-advised legislation would prohibit financial institutions with $100 billion or more in assets from restricting the number of credit card networks a transaction can be processed on — an impact that would be felt throughout the entire financial services industry.
The League continues to advocate and fight for this bill, clearing legislative roadblocks in the Senate. The Senate Banking Committee passed S. 2860 — the Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act — by a vote of 14-9. We supported this bill and gained support from senators in California and Nevada. In fact, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (Nevada) was influential in the bill’s passage in committee, officially stating she has heard from business owners and employees regarding individuals who fear for their safety and struggle to open deposit accounts (or qualify for mortgage loans) due to their cash-based livelihoods within the cannabis industry. Building support for the measure, Senators Jacky Rosen (Nevada) and Alex Padilla (California) cosponsored the bill. This bill would offer narrowly targeted federal protections for credit unions and other financial institutions accepting deposits, extending credit, or providing payment services to an individual or business engaged in cannabis-related commerce in states where such activity is legal with a safe harbor. It also provides a safe harbor to credit unions and employees who are not aware if their members are involved in the cannabis business.
During the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, credit unions and businesses innovated their electronic notarization service processes. The League supported legislation that would create a national standard for virtual notaries. H.R. 1059, the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic (SECURE) Notarization Act, passed in the House of Representatives. As the bill is considered in the Senate, we will continue advocating for its passage.
Due to the League’s proactive advocacy efforts, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 582, the Credit Union Board Modernization Act. This bill provides parity with state-chartered credit unions by allowing federally chartered credit unions to remove the monthly board meeting requirement and move to one per quarter (and no fewer than six per year). Authored by Congressman Juan Vargas (California), the bill passed unanimously. Its passage comes after successfully passing the House in 2022. During the 117th Congress from last session, 30 of 53 California members of the House co-sponsored this bill, as well as all four House representatives from Nevada. We continue advocating for its full passage.
As legislators deliberate on the role of digital currencies in our financial services sector, the League remains steadfast in advocating for credit unions to safeguard their position within this evolving landscape. During the House Financial Services Committee’s discussion on stablecoin and digital assets, the League submitted a letter emphasizing the need for regulatory equity. League President and CEO Diana Dykstra called for prioritizing consumer protections and establishing regulatory standards on par with those applicable to credit unions and other financial institutions. Since 2017, the stablecoin industry has grown to more than $130 billion nationwide, and its impact on the U.S. economy has expanded significantly. Stablecoin issuers introduce a unique form of currency that can carry distinct monetary policy implications. Currently, credit unions may not issue or have custody of stablecoins, but it’s a potential avenue in the future. We continue advocating for credit unions on this front.
Powerful Achievements: PAC & Grassroots
Supporting the Credit Union Cause
Directly connecting your credit union’s supporters to state and federal legislators through our Connect for the Cause action-alerts remains a top priority and is extremely valuable to our movement’s political voice.
With your help throughout the year, we sent nearly 26,900 Connect for the Cause messages to members of Congress from California and Nevada telling them to protect credit union members’ card data by opposing the Credit Card Competition Act (CCCA). We also sent nearly 1,800 messages to California state senators and assemblymembers immediately after a harmful elder financial abuse liability bill (Senate Bill 278) was introduced, stopping the bill in its tracks.
Fundraising & Meetings with Elected Officials
We are dedicated to educating elected officials and their communities about the credit union difference.
Our California Credit Union League State PAC (Political Action Committee) interviewed over 45 state and federal candidates, attended 81 fundraisers, and hosted 43 in-person state and federal district meetings, fundraisers, and/or check presentations. We also raised more than $52,000 for the Federal New Democrats Coalition during our Hike the Hill gathering, and more than $101,000 for several members on the California State Assembly and Senate banking/finance committees — including Assemblymembers Tim Grayson, Phillip Chen, Cottie Petrie-Norris, Esmeralda Soria, Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, Sabrina Cervantes, and Diane Dixon, as well as Senators Anthony Portantino, Roger Niello, and Janet Nguyen. Other notable meetings displaying the credit union difference included district meet-and-greets with California Assemblymembers Joe Patterson and Juan Alanis, as well as Congressman Kevin Kiley (California) and Congresswoman Susie Lee (Nevada).
The League organized 181 state and federal lobby-day visits between credit union advocates and their elected representatives across California through the California Government Relations Rally (GRR) in Sacramento, the Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and Hike the Hill in Washington, D.C.
The League PAC also raised more than $672,000 toward state candidates. This year, we saw 106 credit unions donate to our State PAC, with an average giving of $5,406 per credit union. Included in this effort, more than 150 credit union leaders from two dozen credit unions came together to support PAC and raise a record-breaking $131,000 during our 13th annual Multi-Network Golf Tournament!
The League raised more than $157,000 toward the Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) Federal PAC through individual giving during the GAC Sweepstakes, June CULAC Challenge, ongoing payroll deduction programs, and one-time donations during this year’s REACH Sweepstakes. The GAC Sweepstakes took first place in the nation when it raised $47,764. We also raised the most in CULAC history ($10,395)during the June 30-by-30 Campaign!
Big Wins in Regulatory Reform
Federal & State Impact
The League closely monitored a plethora of regulatory issuances and provided vital information daily and weekly to help you stay informed on regulatory actions. We also advocated for—and helped ensure—outcomes that positively impact credit unions and their members.
We hosted eight exclusive meetings with regulators and League members, including:
- U.S. Treasury Department Assistant Secretary of Financial Institutions Graham Steele (during Hike the Hill).
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau senior officials (at the CFPB’s headquarters during Hike the Hill).
- California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation Commissioner Clothilde “Cloey” Hewlett and Deputy Commissioner Purvi Patel (during our Shapiro Summit CEO Roundtable and the California Government Relations Rally).
- California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation General Counsel Avy Mallick (keynote speaker for the League’s inaugural 2023 CU Impact conference). His session covered an overview of the DFPI’s position on community and social impact, including helping underserved communities and financial wellbeing for all.
- National Credit Union Administration Chairman Todd Harper (during the Governmental Affairs Conference and the League’s REACH 2023 convention).
- National Credit Union Administration Western Region Director Cherie Freed (to discuss supervisory and examination issues).
ENGAGING Regulators: Raising Concerns and Advocating for CUs
We fought for your credit union’s interests at every opportunity and stayed proactive on the regulatory frontlines, including:
- Urging the National Credit Union Administration to institute a floating federal credit union interest rate cap to allow credit unions to provide competitive products that address the needs of their members and steer them away from risky products.
- Strongly opposing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s efforts to expand the scope of Regulation E and hold financial institutions liable for fraud on peer-to-peer platforms.
- Raising concerns to state and federal regulators regarding the harmful mischaracterization of “fees” in financial services.
- Continuing our calls on the CFPB regarding tailored regulations and greater use of exemption authority and collaboration and relationship with the NCUA.
- Providing comments to the CFPB regarding proposals on credit card late fees and open banking; comments to the NCUA regarding climate-related financial risk; and comments to the Federal Housing Finance Agency regarding the Federal Home Loan Bank system.
- Advocating for the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation to provide California state-chartered credit unions with flexibility and parity to federal credit unions and California state-chartered banks. Our advocacy centered on granting a waiver for private mortgage insurance on loans that exceed 80 percent of the appraised value of improved real property, enabling the exploration of innovative approaches to enhance affordable housing options.
Compliance for Superior Performance
Oftentimes credit unions forego accessing their legal counsel because the League’s compliance resources provide the answer — quickly and efficiently. Compliance Hotline consultants have the expertise; CU PolicyPro has more than 200 model policies; and InfoSight offers both federal and state-specific compliance information.
From January to October of 2023, California and Nevada credit unions accessed InfoSight 8,586 times, made 1,572 calls to the Compliance Hotline, and benefitted from CU PolicyPro 1,032 times. Approximately 134 credit unions used InfoSight, 177 used the Compliance Hotline, and 158 used CU PolicyPro.
Fostering and Facilitating Professional Development
High-Impact Options Leverage Virtual & Onsite Strengths
We harnessed the capabilities, conveniences, and unique tools in today’s learning environment to deliver a valuable set of relevant educational and professional development options.
The League unleashed exclusive educational choices to help your staff grow, including:
- Eight signature events — such as REACH, the Leadership Summit, Summit Roundtables, the inaugural Mid-Sized CU Forum, CU FinHealth, CU Impact, Joseph A. McDonald Attorney Conference, and the Shapiro Summit. Altogether, these signature events continue attracting thousands of credit union leaders every year.
- Nearly 375 credit union staff members attended one of 15 successful seminars hitting on important topics your staff needs, including account administration, legal updates, and regulatory compliance.
- Nearly 100 credit union employees throughout California and Nevada were certified through the hybrid Financial Counselors Academy. They can now provide invaluable services and support to members who are navigating their personal financial journeys!
Our League Educational Calendar’s opportunities delivered a wide variety of valuable educational options all year long.
- The League’s Etrain and Power Learning Passport (PLP) platforms saw 5,683 webinars ordered, 196 credit unions participate, and more than 1,840 learning hours delivered.
- Your Economy — Your Credit Union continues to be a yearly favorite and grows in online/virtual audience size, with CEOs, CFOs, board directors, and senior management attending.
- The Data Institute held five Data Activation courses and two Deep Dive Data Governance sessions to provide your credit union’s staff with a formal structure it can use to manage access, quality, and security when delivering key elements needed to launch a formal data governance program.
Community Impact Highlights
The League’s involvement in philanthropic causes, networking, inaugural events, and signature gatherings spotlighted rare opportunities for professionals to grow, develop, and contribute back to our movement.
- More than 60 credit unions raised nearly $211,000 at the 2023 Credit Union Sactown Run, benefiting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and showcasing the partnership credit unions have with CMN Hospitals. Nearly 2,000 runners took over downtown Sacramento in front of the California State Capitol for the cause!
- Credit Unions for Kids Wine Auction: California and Nevada credit unions raised more than $1.7 million this year.
- We also provided your staff with unique tools for financial education and community impact. CU FinHealth brought together more than 200 attendees to discuss multi-sector solutions in financial wellbeing and health, learning from each other, exploring strategies, and leveraging technology to improve members, employees, and communities’ financial wellbeing.
- CU Impact (an exclusive forum launched this year) attracted more than 60 attendees to help credit union leaders and practitioners, giving them the opportunity to collaborate, engage, learn, and connect to create positive and sustainable change in the communities they serve.
- Communidad Latina FCU was designated a Juntos Avanzamos credit union with the League’s help, joining 15 fellow Juntos Avanzamos (“Together We Advance”) credit unions throughout underserved Hispanic and immigrant communities across California.
- The game-show team from SCE FCU won The PITCH during our REACH conference with its “Revenue — A Women Entrepreneurs’ Workshop” idea! The team was awarded $10,000 to support broader implementation of this fledgling, innovative program.