CUNA sends recommendations to incoming Biden administration

January 19, 2021

The incoming Biden administration should consider the impact any policy changes will have on credit unions’ ability to serve their members, CUNA wrote to the Biden transition team Tuesday. CUNA’s recommendations include continued actions from NCUA and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), as well as recommendations in the housing and diversity, equity, and inclusion arena.

“CUNA strongly encourages this new administration to support and implement further COVID-recovery legislation and policies in 2021 and beyond to ensure credit unions remain in a position to serve their members throughout and after the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter reads.

CUNA continues to encourage the NCUA to:

  • Refrain from National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) premium assessments;
  • Temporarily exclude certain low-risk assets from the net worth ratio;
  • Remove obstacles to consumers accessing the Payday Alternative Loans I Program;
  • Allow the use of temporary asset thresholds; and
  • Quickly review pending rulemakings.

CUNA recommendations to the CFPB include broad ones, as well as recommendations for specific regulations:

  • Avoid implementing new rules that would unnecessarily tie-up compliance resources or add to regulatory burden;
  • Suspend unnecessary onsite examination activities and reduce the frequency of requests for examination-related information 
  • Expand “good faith efforts to comply” supervision policies to additional areas where credit unions are acting swiftly to assist members in need; and
  • Coordinate with other federal banking regulators, especially the NCUA, to issue up-to-date guidance on mortgage servicing; and
  •  Effectively use its statutory authority to appropriately tailor regulations to reduce burden or exempt credit unions entirely, as appropriate;

CUNA also covers several specific regulations and actions the CFPB should take:

  • Remittances
    • Increase the “normal course of business” safe harbor threshold from 500, as finalized, to 1,000 remittance transfers; and
    • Eliminate the 30-minute cancellation requirement or provide consumers the ability to opt-out of the mandated waiting period.
  • Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA)
    • Allow reporting for Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) to once again be voluntary;
    • Reduce the HMDA data set for credit unions to only data points specifically required by current statute; 
    • Increase further the open-end line of credit and closed-end mortgage loan reporting thresholds to exempt credit unions with smaller mortgage lending portfolios from HMDA reporting; and   
    • Alter the approach to the privacy balancing test used to determine which HMDA data points will be made available to the public in favor of consumer privacy. 
  • Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices (UDAAP)
    • Solicit stakeholder feedback on an ongoing basis to determine whether the “abusiveness” standard being applied is clear and whether a rulemaking is necessary;
    • Clarify that previous enforcement actions or consent orders that conflict with statutory or judicial precedent create no new expectations for compliance; and
    • Clarify its authority under the Dodd-Frank Act in regulating the business of insurance and reaffirm that UDAAP is not a backdoor to regulate insurance activities.

The letter also notes credit unions’ critical role in the housing markets, and suggests the following priorities:

  • Include mortgage payment assistance to borrowers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis in any stimulus package;
  • Include temporary liquidity assistance for mortgage servicers in any stimulus package
  • Ensure the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) recapitalization plans for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are phased in on a schedule that prevents disruption of the secondary mortgage market; and
  • Any amendments to existing housing finance reform plans should ensure that the secondary market remains open to lenders of all sizes on an equitable basis, without allowing Fannie and Freddie to provide discounts based on volume or otherwise charge higher fees to smaller lenders such as credit unions.

CUNA also highlights its commitment, and that of its members, to ensure DEI plays a role in every aspect of the financial services sector.

“Credit unions and all in the financial services sector, including our regulators, must be intentional about increasing diversity and inclusion at leadership, board, and staff levels to continue to reach and better serve an increasingly diverse population and enhance financial inclusion for all,” the letter reads. “We look forward to working with the new administration, Congress and federal regulators as we continue to make diversity, equity, and inclusion an industry top priority.”