Credit unions welcome Senator Tillis for meet and greet in Raleigh
Wednesday, October 2, 2019
U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R) visited with Carolinas Credit Union League members in Raleigh at the Wake Forest Road offices of LGFCU and Civic FCU on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. The event, sponsored by CUNA and the League, offered an opportunity for credit union advocates to meet one-on-one with Tillis, who serves on the Senate Banking Committee. Credit union representatives and event supporters included Charlotte Metro FCU, Civic FCU, Coastal FCU, ElecTel FCU, LGFCU, Lion's Share FCU, and Premier FCU.
League President and CEO Dan Schline kicked off the discussion by thanking Tillis for his support of the League-backed legislation S. 2155, which addresses many regulatory burdens that community-based financial institutions face.
“It was a good start, but there’s more to be done,” said Schline, as he noted consolidation in the financial services marketplace. “Over the past 25 years, the top 20 banks held about 40 percent of the marketplace. Today, those banks have about 73 percent of the marketplace and credit unions’ share has held pretty flat, around 7 percent.”
Tillis agreed with Schline, stating, “the banking ecosystem has to have a solid base in order for financial institutions to thrive. We don’t really have that.”
Tillis discussed the way S. 2155 evolved last year through bipartisan and bicameral compromise. That approach, he explained, is a philosophy he has used throughout his tenure in public service. Tillis said that, in the case of S. 2155, the compromises didn’t achieve all goals, but it got a good bit done and built relationships to work on other issues in the future.
When asked about the prospects of the SAFE Banking Act (H.R. 1595), which addresses safe harbors for cannabis banking – including hemp banking – Tillis candidly shared some skepticism. He noted there were significant gray areas around the issue of decriminalization of marijuana at the federal level, including standardization of cannabis products within those states where cannabis is legal. Tillis agreed that hemp has great potential as a replacement crop for tobacco, but that there were questions around how to address it, as well. Tillis gave passage of the SAFE Banking Act in the Senate during this Congress less than a 50 percent chance.
In addition to other issues he is focused on, there’s the National Defense Authorization Act for which he is a conferee. He acknowledged credit unions’ concerns about banks trying to broaden to for-profit institutions the allowances the U.S. Department of Defense provides for on-base services. These allowances—already provided to not-for-profit credit unions—include waiver of certain fees and land-lease costs. Tillis said that conferees are aware of credit unions’ shared position and that he thinks there is a good chance for a resolution that will be positive in that regard.
|Highlights from the Thom Tillis Meet & Greet