Credit union leaders from North Dakota, along with Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (CUAD) President Jeff Olson and Vice President of Compliance Amy Kleinschmit, attended a meeting Wednesday in Bismarck, N.D. arranged by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) to discuss regulatory burdens with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray.
Along with 69 of her Senate colleagues, Senator Heitkamp recently signed a CUNA-led letter to Cordray urging the CFPB to exercise authority granted under Dodd-Frank to exempt certain classes of financial institutions, including credit unions, from burdensome regulations wherever appropriate.
The meeting was held jointly with representatives from the Bank of North Dakota, Independent Community Bankers of North Dakota and the North Dakota Bankers Association.
Roundtable attendees stressed the burden of overregulation from all government agencies. They provided real-life stories of the way over-regulation inhibits their ability to serve North Dakota communities, particularly in rural areas.
“The discussion, while good, emphasized Director Cordray’s position that the CFPB is here to protect consumers, even from themselves,” Kleinschmit said. ”These comments were countered by attendees that tried to illustrate how the rules, in some cases, were actually hurting consumers.”
The Bismarck meeting took place on the heels of a letter that CUNA and the leagues, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia sent to Cordray, calling again for regulatory relief and asking the bureau to exercise their statutory exemption authority. Since the financial crisis, credit unions and banks have been subjected to more than 200 regulatory changes, while the cost of compliance with regulatory burden for credit unions has skyrocketed from $4.4 billion in 2010 to $7.2 billion in 2014.
“CUAD has received much support from Heitkamp on the regulatory issues that credit unions are facing,” Olson noted. “We appreciate the opportunity to have dialogue with the director, and I applaud and thank Senator Heitkamp for coordinating and leading the discussion,” said Olson. “The biggest takeaway for our credit unions is that we were able to personally share our story and describe in detail how these ‘one-size-fits-all’ rules and regulations negatively impacts our ability to serve our members. I thought the director and his staff were very engaged with our participants, and I sincerely appreciate his willingness to listen to our concerns and stories.”