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Grassley Speaks at Annual Credit Union Conference

Prepared Remarks by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa

Chairman, Senate Finance Committee

Credit Union National Association’s 2020 Governmental Affairs Conference

Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Good morning, and thank you for the invitation to speak. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to hear from the CEOs of many credit unions from across the state of Iowa.

I always enjoy hearing from Iowans. I especially enjoy hearing about the positive impact that credit unions are able to make in their local communities in Iowa.

When looking for a mortgage, to buy a car or to finance a small business, Iowans and all Americans turn to credit unions.

Your mission to serve your members allows people in rural and low income communities to access loans at affordable rates.

Just as importantly, you serve your communities by looking out for your members and helping to protect them from fraud and financial exploitation.

In 2018, I helped ensure the passage of the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act. This law equips law enforcement with additional tools to combat financial and other crimes against older Americans.

Congress has also passed the Senior Safe Act of 2018.

This bill protects financial services professionals, such as employees of credit unions, from being sued over privacy and other violations for reporting suspected elder financial abuse to law enforcement.

It also encourages training for employees of credit unions and banks to recognize the signs of financial exploitation.

That’s just one example of how the federal government can help you serve your members.

I’ve long been an advocate of removing unnecessary regulations, especially on credit unions and smaller institutions. You weren’t responsible for the financial crisis, and you shouldn’t be regulated like those who were.  

I was happy to help Congress pass the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act in 2018. This bill streamlines regulations and frees up resources for smaller institutions.

We want to make it easier for you to extend credit and offer services to working families.

Time and money spent complying with burdensome regulations is time and money that should be spent serving your members.

I’ll keep working to reduce government red tape so that our economy can continue to grow.

Another area where Congress can work with credit unions to protect consumers is in data security and privacy. In my meetings with credit unions, I’ve heard that this is an increasingly important issue.  

When I was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I convened two hearings on data privacy and security.

The dialogue about what can be done to protect consumers’ information is continuing, but it’s going to require bipartisan agreement.

It’s clear that the status quo no longer works.

Congress – and all stakeholders – must work together to protect Americans’ personal and financial information from criminals and foreign bad actors.

As Congress continues to debate this issue, we need to make sure we get it right.

One-size-fits-all approaches aren’t always the answer. And we shouldn’t construct needless barriers to innovation and consumer choice.

As I always say, representative government is a two-way street.

It’s my job to listen to folks like you. And it’s your responsibility to come to lawmakers with your thoughts on the issues.

Credit unions have always promoted dialogue and contributed to our representative government. I encourage you to continue to share your stories and advocate for your members to lawmakers like me.

Thank you again for those of you from Iowa. And thanks to all of you for serving your communities and helping our economy and our nation thrive.

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