WASHINGTON (3/26/15)--CUNA continues to monitor the advancement of nine regulatory relief bills being considered by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, which is expected to vote on a relief package today.
Eleven regulatory relief bills in total were marked up by the committee Wednesday.
As previously reported in News Now, a number of the bills passed the committee in the previous Congress, including several that passed without any opposing votes.
"Witness after witness has come before our committee over the last several years to speak about the weight, the volume, the complexity, the cost and uncertainty of Washington regulations," said Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chair of the committee. "One community banker who appeared before our committee last week called this 'an avalanche of new rules.' It is not an exaggeration to say that America's community financial institutions are withering on the vine."
Members of the committee seemed especially concerned with regulatory burdens that are causing financial institutions to limit products offered, and how such burdens are not only affecting financial institutions, but the consumers who rely on them.
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) said a common theme in recent regulatory relief hearings is that small financial institutions appear ready to stop offering products such as mortgages.
"When they leave the mortgage market in those smaller communities, there's no place for the people who live in those communities to get a mortgage loan," he said, speaking in support of the Mortgage Servicing Asset Capital Requirements Act of 2015 (H.R. 1480).
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) said he was especially concerned with regulations that see community institutions as existing on the same level as the largest banks. He cited the Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act (H.R. 1529) as an example of tangible regulatory relief.
The bill would provide safe harbor from escrow requirements for loans held in portfolio for some smaller financial institutions, and exempt institutions that service less than 20,000 mortgages per year.
"Community banks and credit unions that service less than 20,000 mortgages per year should not be subject to the same regulations as an institution that has a $2 trillion servicing portfolio," he said.
All bills will considered during the markup be subject to a recorded vote, which is expected to begin at 9 a.m. (ET).