WASHINGTON (7/31/14)--The House Financial Services Committee passed two more regulatory relief bills that were held over for a recorded vote from Tuesday's hearing. Both bills are supported by the Credit Union National Association, in testimony before the committee several weeks ago, and with a letter to the committee Monday.
The Community Bank Mortgage Servicing Asset Capital Requirements Study Act (H.R. 4042) passed 44-9. The bill would direct federal banking agencies to conduct a study of appropriate capital requirements for mortgage servicing assets for nonsystemic banking institutions. CUNA supported a manager's amendment that would have included the National Credit Union Administration in the study and postponed the agency's risk-based capital proposal, but it was not offered.
However, several members of the committee, including Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), the bill's sponsor, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.) pledged to work together to add credit union parity measures into the bill before it reaches the House floor.
Legislators from both houses are still questioning the NCUA's risk-based capital proposal. Wyoming Sens. Michael Enzi (R), John Barrasso (R) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) wrote expressing misgivings about the proposal.
"Credit unions in Wyoming have expressed their apprehension about this rule and fear it will prompt them to change the way they operate in order to raise capital to maintain their current buffers," reads the letter from Enzi and Barrasso. "In fact, one estimate suggests that credit unions in our home state will face increased capital requirements of approximately $12 million to preserve their current capita; buffers and remain well-capitalized."
All three Senators expressed concerns about whether or not the proposal exceeds the authority granted through the Federal Credit Union Act, and noted that increased requirements could reduce availability or affordability of loan products, thereby restricting credit availability to members.
The three legislators became the 20th, 21st and 22nd Senators to write to the agency with concerns about the proposal. In addition, six Representatives have individually written letters, along with 324 members that signed a letter outlining several issues with the proposal.
The Access to Affordable Mortgages Act (H.R. 5148) passed 31-23, and would amend the Truth in Lending Act to exempt certain higher-risk mortgages from property appraisal requirements. CUNA supports the bill since it would provide regulatory relief to mortgage lenders.
"The bill would allow credit unions that offer mortgage loans secured by covered properties to serve their middle to lower income members better," reads the letter CUNA sent in support of the bill.