This week in Congress: 6 CUNA-backed bills up for subpanel consideration

June 9, 2015

WASHINGTON (6/9/15)--Twelve bills aimed at providing regulatory relief to financial institutions will be discussed in a hearing at 2 p.m. (ET) Thursday of the House Committee on Financial Services. The bills include six supported by CUNA, said CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan in his weekly “Legislative Update” video.

Several of the bills would reduce credit unions’ regulatory burden or improve the regulatory environment in which credit unions operate, he said. The subcommittee vote will clear the way for a full committee vote on the regulatory relief bills, perhaps by the end of the month, “making them ripe for full House consideration” perhaps in July or at least by summer’s end, Donovan said.

CUNA supports these bills:

  • H.R. 766, Financial Institution Customer Protection Act of 2015, which seeks to end the Department of Justice’s Operation Choke Point. Operation Choke Point investigates whether financial institutions and payment-processing companies have enabled fraudulent activity;
  • H.R. 1210, Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act, which would treat mortgages held in portfolio at credit unions and other mortgage lenders as qualified mortgages for the purposes of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) mortgage lending rules;
  • H.R. 1266, Financial Product Safety Commission Act of 2015, which would replace the CFPB executive director with a commission nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate;
  • H.R. 1941, Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act, an examination fairness bill that CUNA has supported in the past several congressional sessions. Among other things, the legislation would create an independent ombudsman and an independent examination appeals process;
  • H.R. 2213, which would provide a temporary safe harbor from the enforcement of integrated disclosure requirements for mortgage loan transactions under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 and the Truth in Lending Act. This legislation would address the liability issues associated with delaying enforcement of the TILA-RESPA integrated disclosures requirements. While statements from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and CFPB have been helpful, more needs to be done to ensure that credit unions are not subject to legal liability during the transition period, said CUNA; and
  • H.R. 2287, NCUA Budget Transparency Act, which would require the NCUA board to conduct an annual hearing on the agency's budget. CUNA has asked Congress to consider this proposal as a way to bring more transparency and greater stakeholder input into the agency's budget process.

The hearing is titled “Examining Legislative Proposals to Preserve Consumer Choice and Financial Independence.”

CUNA also will closely monitor the House Financial Services Committee hearing “The Future of Housing in America: Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development,” set for 10 a.m. (ET) Thursday.

Other bills discussed in the video include:

  • S. 1367, which would amend the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) Act to provide equity for privately insured credit unions. CUNA supports the bill;
  • S. 1137, the PATENT Act, which was marked up June 4 by the Senate Judiciary Committee. CUNA and other financial services trade groups support the bill, which addresses the problem of abusive demand letters from entities engaged in patent trolling; and
  • H.R. 1295, the Trade Preferences Extension Act. CUNA has urged removal of a proposal that would require credit unions, banks and broker/dealers to report to the Internal Revenue Service and their member/customers all interest-bearing and non-interest-bearing accounts. Current law does not require reporting on non-interest accounts and has a $10 threshold on interest-bearing accounts.