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True Story: Political Advocacy on Behalf of our Members/Owners

As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, FORUM is owned by you, our members. This structure allows us to return profits to members through dividends, lower interest rates on loans, and investments to our member service efforts including employees, branch locations, and technology.  As a result of our ownership structure, we are politically active to help shape legislation that focuses on government regulations that impact our ability to efficiently serve you. 

While FORUM has always seen the importance of being politically active, this effort has taken on even greater importance since the 2008 recession.  After the Wall Street based national banks contributed to our country’s financial crisis, the federal government issued new regulations in the form of legislation named Dodd-Frank in an effort to avoid a similar future crisis.  In general, we support regulation because, if done properly and fairly, it promotes a financial environment where bad actors are kept out of the financial services space.  In return, this helps create a level playing field for all financial institutions, including FORUM, where we take pride in our team’s ability to offer products and services to you in a simple and compliant manner. While Dodd-Frank was intended to impact the large institutions that caused the crisis, it has more adversely impacted credit unions and community banks.  Additionally, a new government agency known as the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created.  This agency has issued new rules and regulations at an unprecedented pace that has directly affected FORUM.  As a result, we have spent a significant amount of money and time to ensure we comply with Dodd-Frank and CFBP rules and regulations.  Similarly, other credit unions are experiencing the same burdens, as seen with a recent testimony from Dallas Bergl, CEO of Inova Federal Credit Union in Elkhart, Indiana.  During his statement with the Senate Finance Committee, he shared that he used to get up in the morning and think about how his credit union could better serve its members.  Now, he gets up in the morning and considers how he can keep Inova in compliance with all the new rules and regulations.  FORUM shares this concern with spending a disproportionate amount of time on compliance instead of better serving our members/owners.  

We are working with our Indiana legislators in both the Senate and House of Representatives in an effort to achieve what we call “Common Sense Regulation” to help alleviate the burdens felt by credit unions. On June 8, 2017, the House of Representatives passed the CHOICE Act (H.R. 10), which we support as a positive first step in achieving some regulatory reform.  We would like to thank Indiana House of Representative legislators Luke Messer, Susan Brooks, Jackie Walroski, and Trey Hollingsworth for their active support of the CHOICE Act.  Representative Luke Messer spoke on the House floor and Trey Hollingsworth wrote an article in the Indianapolis Business Journal in support of the proposed legislation.  Now the CHOICE Act heads to the Senate, where prospects of passing are slim.  However, we are receiving support from credit union friend Senator Joe Donnelly as he participates in Senate hearings looking at regulatory reform. 

I share this political advocacy update as the governmental environment in which we operate directly impacts how we serve you.  As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, we want to maximize the value you receive from your membership, but undue government regulations take away from maximizing this value.  With this in mind, we plan to highlight specific political action calls to members and invite you to participate in helping us communicate with political representatives who support credit unions. Additionally, we have a Your Voice section on our website that discusses political advocacy and includes an option to subscribe to our legislative newsletter. 

Thank you for being a FORUM member and for your support of our work in the communities in which we work and live.  We take pride in being an Indiana institution owned by our members. 

Posted: 7/12/2017 with 0 comments

Categories: Finances, Financial, Legislative

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