Changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau structure represent a reasonable improvement to a flawed structure, not an attempt to undermine the bureau, CUNA wrote to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) Monday. CUNA’s letter points out that since the Dodd-Frank Act was first proposed as a bipartisan commission by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and the Obama Administration, CUNA has agreed that it is the appropriate structure for the bureau.
“There is no question that the largest financial institutions, primarily those who actually caused the financial crisis, have benefited from a regulatory environment that rewards those who can afford high-powered lawyers, rather than those with a service-minded mission to empower lower-or-middle income consumers,” wrote CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “Common-sense reforms must be put in place to better protect credit unions from this skewed system. Failure to address the defects in the CFPB structure allows the behemoth banks to continue to take advantage of this rigged system.”
Nussle cited CUNA’s January 2017 member survey, which contains data showing that as a result of one-size fits all CFPB rules, credit unions have been, or will be, forced to eliminate consumer-friendly services in response to overwhelming costs and increased compliance burdens.
CUNA’s letter also highlights that there are likely to be diverse perspectives on this issue from members of Congress in the debate about what the CFPB should look like moving forward, and that credit unions will be seeking common-sense reforms that help protect members’ ability to continue to access to safe and affordable credit.
“We hope Congress engages in a robust debate over consumer financial protection; and we understand it is quite possible that debate will include the question of whether the CFPB should continue to exist,” Nussle wrote. “As we did in 2009, we will engage in the debate eager to represent our members and their members fiercely and steadfastly, weighing the benefits of all proposals offered to the reality of the current structure.”
CUNA’s Campaign for Common-Sense Regulation, launched earlier this year, takes aim at a number of legislative improvements to the CFPB, including changes to the leadership structure. In addition, CUNA is seeking to see the bureau funded through the appropriations process, increase the asset threshold for bureau supervision and broaden and clarify the CFPB’s statutory exemption authority.
“One-size-fits-all regulation has not worked for Main Street – local credit unions, small banks, and the consumers and small businesses they serve. It’s created a rigged system favoring the largest institutions who can afford to comply with the "solutions" dreamt up in Washington--the very institutions that caused the crisis that hurt so many,” Nussle wrote. “This system is hurting consumers, costing them time and money, and limiting their choices. Now is the time for Congress to enact regulatory reform that works for credit union members.