CFPB steps could increase pandemic services from CUs

July 29, 2020

Additional flexibility and compliance assistance will be needed from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for the duration of the pandemic, CUNA wrote to the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday. CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger is expected to give her semi-annual testimony before the committee Thursday, following her Wednesday testimony before the Senate Banking Committee.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Bureau has been proactive in issuing policy statements on several key issues, including credit reporting, mortgage servicing, small dollar lending, remittances, and reporting deadline extensions,” the letter reads. “Credit unions have found these statements helpful in clarifying the CFPB’s expectations and providing much-needed flexibility. Pursuant to local orders and public health best practices, credit unions and third-party service providers are often operating short-staffed, on enterprise-wide telework, or with skeleton crews. These staffing challenges coupled with an increasing demand for assistance have often caused standard processes and procedures to slow.”

Needed flexibility for the duration of the pandemic includes:

  • Avoiding implementing any new rules that would unnecessarily tie-up compliance resources or add to regulatory burden;
  • Suspending unnecessary onsite examination activities and reducing the frequency of requests for examination-related information;
  • Expanding “good faith efforts to comply” supervision policies to additional areas where credit unions are acting swiftly to assist members in need; and
  • Continuing to coordinate with other federal banking regulators, especially NCUA, to issue up-to-date guidance on mortgage servicing as more borrowers seek out forbearance and other means of assistance during the pandemic.

CUNA also called on Congress to act to protect credit unions from frivolous litigation arising from actions to assist financially distressed members during the pandemic, to establish a bipartisan commission to lead the CFPB and reiterated its call for the CFPB to ensure execution of its regulatory agenda ensures credit unions are able to provide safe and efficient products and services.