TRENTON, N.J. – A bill (A-2941) to create a Consumer Finance Advisory Board within the Department of Banking & Insurance (DOBI) and repeal statutes establishing the Residential Mortgage & Consumer Finance Advisory Board, the Community Financial Services Advisory Board, and the Credit Union Advisory Council (CUAC) was scheduled late Monday evening for Thursday consideration by an Assembly committee.
The intent was to consolidate the activities of the three separate entities into one board that would advise and make recommendations to the DOBI commissioner on matters and issues the groups currently consider. The legislation was in response to DOBI’s recommendation under the governor’s Executive Order No. 15, which directed all departments to scrutinize the duties and spending of independent state boards, commissions, authorities, and agencies. DOBI determined that the consolidation of the three entities into one “would best serve the needs of the citizens of this State.”
The new board would have consisted of nine statutorily defined representatives with only two seats designated for credit unions.
The League prepared a position statement, and its contract lobbyist reached out to the bill’s sponsor, the committee chairman, members, and staff to argue that a separate CUAC was necessary and justified, and the legislation would lump very different financial service providers into one advisory board with duties that would be, in many respects, inconsistent with those individual providers’ businesses and expertise. A suggested draft amendment to exclude the consolidation of the CUAC, omit credit unions issues from the new body’s duties, and preserve the current CUAC statute was also submitted.
The League was successful. The sponsor and committee chairman agreed to recommend adoption of the amended language when the bill came up for committee consideration.
Thursday morning CUAC Chairman and Credit Union of New Jersey president/CEO Andy Jaeger and League Director of Government Affairs Chris Abeel went to the State House to thank the sponsor and committee chairman, and further press the case with committee members. The amendment passed unanimously, and the bill was reported with the League’s recommended amendment.
“This is a textbook example of a well-oiled government relations program that’s able to react on a moment’s notice,” said League president/CEO Paul Gentile. “Credit unions are no longer back-bench players in Trenton and this is proof positive of the tremendous strides in political and legislative advocacy we’ve made in recent years,” he continued.
The League’s position paper is available here.