Nussle : Yes, we are. We’ve been regulated since 1934 and we have an excellent business model and an excellent track record of managing people’s finances and being pro-consumer. When Congress was passing Dodd-Frank they provided an exemption authority because they understood one size doesn’t fit all. But, by the same token, they were hurrying to pass a law to deal with the financial crisis and, frankly, to look like they were doing something. So, Congress passed this one-size-fits-all bill that gave exemption authority to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We figured the CFPB was going to understand that the problem was about big banks and systemic disruption and the way they treat consumers and too big to fail and everything else and use the discretion Dodd-Frank gave them. In reality what the CFPB has done is it has lumped everything including credit unions into this when we were not part of the problem when the financial system almost collapsed in 2008. Congress assumed that credit unions would be exempted by the CFPB but they have not been and they have no rationale for not exempting us. Because we’re nonprofit, credit unions return our earnings to our members in the form of lower interest rates on borrowing or higher interest rates on savings.

IBJ: Is there anything going on in regard to changing the regulations for credit unions?

Nussle: Yes. We at the Credit Union National Association have been working with Congress to try to reform Dodd-Frank. In fact, we had 5,000 advocates from credit unions from all 50 states come to Washington in February to advocate for changing Dodd-Frank. We had a big victory last month when the House of Representatives passed what’s called The Choice Act. The Choice Act was the House version to reform Dodd-Frank to make sure that it recognizes that one size does not fit all for financial institutions. It goes to the Senate next. That’s going to be a more difficult process given the Senate rules and the margin between the parties but we are continuing to push that reform effort forward.

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