CUNA on lookout for CU relief proposals in Hensarling bill

June 6, 2016

CUNA will be on the alert Tuesday morning as Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who heads the House Financial Services Committee, reveals details of his legislative plan to reform the Dodd-Frank Act.

In an 8 a.m. (ET) speech to the Economic Club of New York, Hensarling will unveil a package of reforms that he says are intended to promote economic growth.

The speech will be livestreamed here.

Eli Joseph, CUNA's deputy chief advocacy officer for congressional relations, noted Monday that Hensarling's white paper will "promote lively discussion" immediately, but these reforms are unlikely to be enacted this year. "It will serve as an action agenda for next year."

Joseph said that the package will likely be dense and complex, but also likely may include several proposals for relief for community financial institutions, such as credit unions.

"There may be as many as two dozen existing bills wrapped into the chairman's package," Joseph noted. They could include the Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act (H.R. 1941), the Taking Account of Institutions with Low Operational Risk Act (H.R. 2896), the Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act (H.R. 1210), and the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act (H.R. 766).

Joseph earlier pointed out that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was created by Dodd-Frank, is expected to be the focus of many proposed changes within the Hensarling plan.

The package might also include the Financial Products Safety Commission Act (HR 1266) and the Taking Account of Bureaucrats' Spending Act (H.R. 1486). CUNA strongly supports the creation of a five-member panel to head the agency and believes the current sole-director structure at the CFPB jeopardizes the bureau’s foundation as an objective, neutral consumer protection agency. CUNA also wants to see the bureau placed under the appropriations process, saying that additional level of oversight would be a step toward ensuring credit unions are not further burdened with regulations.

CUNA and the state credit union leagues deliver this message to Washington policymakers consistently: Credit unions need relief from crushing regulatory burden so they can better serve their members.

"Credit unions' regulatory costs jumped by 39% since passage of Dodd-Frank in 2010--diverting important resources and services from our members. If this package is used as 2017's template for action by the Financial Services Committee, CUNA and the leagues will work tirelessly to create, support, and enhance provisions that will provide relief for credit unions and their more than 100 million members," Joseph declared.

Also this week, the House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to mark up a bill Thursday that includes CUNA-supported reforms to the CFPB, including its leadership structure, funding method, and provisions to push the bureau to make greater use of its existing authority to clearly exempt credit unions from its rulemaking. See related story: "CUNA-advocated CFPB reform priorities in appropriations bill."