CU relief measures debated, votes continue

July 29, 2015

WASHINGTON (7/29/15)--The U.S. House Financial Services Committee markup of regulatory relief bills continues into today, with a number of CUNA-backed bills to be voted on before it ends. The committee discussed three bills CUNA supports Tuesday, but recorded votes were requested, which will take place at the end of the markup.

The Financial Institution Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 766), the Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act (H.R. 1210) and the Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act (H.R. 1941) were all addressed with varying degrees of support.

H.R. 1941 seemed to garner the most support on both sides of the aisle, with most legislators agreeing that a standard for examinations is needed. The bill would create an independent ombudsman and an independent examination appeals process.

“Too often examiners have become a cop on the beat, prosecutor, jury, judge all rolled into one, and that takes out the fairness and the due process,” said committee chair Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).

Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) added that if 10 employees at a 25-person financial institution are forced to work with examiners to produce paperwork, instead of serving consumers, for weeks on end, “it becomes an extreme burden and very costly scenario,” which is why he supported basic rules for examiners to follow.

H.R. 766 would provide requirements for the appropriate regulators when requesting or ordering a depository institution to terminate a specific customer account. Rep. Ed. Perlmutter (D-Colo.) added an amendment to the bill to allow financial institutions to serve legal marijuana-related businesses. The amendment will be voted on prior to the committee vote on the bill.

H.R. 1210 would treat mortgages held in portfolio at credit unions and other mortgage lenders as qualified mortgages.

The fourth CUNA-supported bill in the markup is the Homebuyers Assistance Act (H.R. 3192), which would provide a temporary safe harbor from enforcement of the Truth in Lending Act-Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act integrated disclosure rule until Feb. 1, 2016.