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Key Economic and Political Issues

Here is a brief overview of some of the important issues Hudson Valley monitors currently.

Data Breaches

Retailers don't face the same strict data security standards that financial institutions are subject to under the Gramm Leach Bliley Act (GLBA). Millions of American consumers' personal financial information has been compromised as a result of merchant data breaches in recent years, demonstrating the need for retailers to live under Federal standards similar to Hudson Valley's requirements. Major merchant data breaches expose credit unions and our members to significant monetary costs. Like other financial institutions, Hudson Valley is forced to cover the costs of fraud, blocking transactions, reissuing cards, increasing staffing at call centers and monitoring members' accounts. Currently, financial institutions are even prohibited from telling members where a breach occurred. Common sense says this needs to change - we're all in the business of data security, and merchants need to carry their fair share of accountability.

Credit Union Taxation

Credit unions promote the economic well-being of our members, especially those of modest means, through a system that is member-owned, generally volunteer-directed and not-for-profit. We have always worked to ensure secure financial choices at lower costs for members. That's why credit unions offer financial products that provide better returns on savings, reduced rates on loans and lower or no fees on services.

While credit unions are regulated by the federal and state governments, they are also generally governed by volunteer boards elected by their membership. Credit unions don't answer to stockholders, but to each of their members. Across the country, credit unions invest in people by helping those who have been traditionally underserved by banks. Groups like seniors on fixed incomes, single working moms, minority communities needing greater community investment, and small business owners struggling to raise capital all rely on credit unions for important financial services at reasonable costs.

Unfortunately, the big banks and some in Congress want to raise taxes and impose new fees on millions of credit union members who represent 40% of all Americans, yet represent only 6% of the assets in financial institutions. And, they want to do this despite the fact that credit unions are not-for-profit and meeting their core mission every day. That's wrong and will imperil the credit union movement that so many have come to depend on for real financial choice.

Human Resource issues

At the state level, restrictions are being considered on an employer's ability to conduct reasonable and relevant background checks in the employment process. These include proposals to limit the use of credit checks, criminal backgrounds, prior wages and others. Another bill would require employers to make a conditional offer of employment before inquiring about any criminal convictions of a prospective employee. As a financial cooperative committed to the safety and security of our members' information and money, we strongly oppose restrictions that could prevent us from hiring the most qualified, responsible candidates.

Demand Note Robberies

Currently in New York State, if someone robs a bank or credit union by passing a note claiming to have a weapon, but doesn't reveal that weapon or in fact isn't carrying one, the penalty if caught is less severe than those who openly display an actual weapon. Anyone who's been a victim of a robbery can tell you that the trauma and mental anguish is real and severe when simply threatened with a weapon. For several years, the NYS Senate has voted in favor of increasing the penalties for these demand note robberies, but an equal bill has been unable to pass the Assembly. Hudson Valley continues to lobby our legislators to help protect their constituents and send a message to deter those who would seek to threaten our staff and members during the commission of a crime.