Thompson and Oswald Poels Testifying

Credit Union Legislation AB 478/SB 451 (Opposed)

AB 478 contains provisions expanding authorized activities and powers of credit unions. If enacted, this legislation would provide credit unions with even more tools to grow, much to the detriment of Wisconsin’s banks.

We have four primary objections to the bill because it allows:

  • Non-member participation in loans or extension of credit
  • Allows credit unions to issue or offer supplemental forms of capital
  • Allows automatic adoption of federally-chartered credit union activities or powers for state-chartered credit unions with only weak government oversight
  • Broadens credit unions’ ability purchase, hold, or dispose of property.

Banking Regulatory Modernization (AB 596, SB___) (In favor)

Modern banking requires modernized regulation. WBA is working to remove these regulatory relics from decades past, and bring them to 2021 standards.

  • Elimination of ATM/ITM notice requirement.
    • Under current law, banks must provide advanced, written notice when they want to move an ATM. This requirement dates back to the late 1970’s and in practice is no longer relevant or enforced
  • Closing an expensive loophole on payable-on-death (POD) account payouts to beneficiaries
    • Banks need the ability to collect outstanding unsecured debt obligations before paying the net amount to a POD beneficiary.
  • Realizing regulatory synergies by aligning certain state regulations with those from the federal level
    • Adopt Rule 902 from the Federal Rules of Evidence to reduce time and court costs associated with authenticating certain pieces of electronic data.
  • Exempting banks from certain new regulations promulgated at the local level.
    • Allow banks to opt out of ordinances requiring installation of “Knox Boxes”, which create a single point of security failure.
  • Reducing government competition within the municipal lending market by the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL).
    • Banks may currently only make loans to municipalities with a maximum of 10-year terms. Allow loans with 20-year terms, to match the capabilities of the BCPL’s lending.

Interchange/Credit Card Swipe Fees AB 587/SB 572 (Opposed)

A proposal has been drafted calling for the prohibition of interchange fees on the tax portion of a transaction.

  • Efforts are being spearheaded by Kwik Trip, and other retailers. WBA and WCUL oppose this effort.
  • Implementation of this proposal is currently impossible; electronic payment processors only recognize the full total of the transaction and cannot differentiate between the gross receipt and tax.
  • Globally, interchange fees are a cost of doing business – it is expensive to maintain the interchange network, keep customers’ data secure, and repel threats.
  • Price controls and intervention are not the role of government in this space and doing so would harm small businesses.

Elder Financial Exploitation Prevention AB 45AB 46SB 19SB 20 (In favor)

In 2017, the National Association of Attorneys General called on its members to focus on elder abuse. Former Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel responded by forming a task force comprised of representatives from the state DOJ, the state Departments of Health Services and Financial Institutions, and the Wisconsin Bankers Association, among other organizations. This work continues under current Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul. WBA members helped craft legislation first introduced in 2019 giving tools to banks to better protect their customers from fraud and abuse. Identical bills, SB 19/AB 46 and SB 20/AB 45 have been reintroduced this session.

  • Instances of elder fraud are under-reported, but estimates peg the costs of elder financial fraud and theft to seniors in the range of $2.9 billion to $36.5 billion annually.
  • This problem continues to grow, especially in light of the pandemic. Individuals have never been more isolated, and fraudsters see PPP and economic impact payments not as relief, but as opportunities.
  • This legislation would allow banks to pause a transaction they feel might fall under elder abuse and work with the customer, an individual on a trusted relationship list, and/or law enforcement to see if this transaction should be completed.
  • Only the transaction itself would be frozen, not the entire account. Funds will still be available to the customer for their other transactions.

Financial institutions are encouraged to use this free video to engage front line staff and other employees on the issue of elder financial abuse:

Download the training video as a file. If the video opens in a new browser window, click the menu icon (three vertical dots) in the lower right corner of the screen.

Rural Housing and Farmers

The Enhancing Credit Opportunities in Rural America (ECORA) Act provides an opportunity to benefit our farmers through better rates and loan terms, and boost local economic activity by ensuring that the agricultural industry will receive increased access to low-cost credit from banks.