Congress should push CFPB to focus on bad actors, not credit unions

April 27, 2022

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has missed many opportunities to leverage credit unions’ mission, CUNA, AACUL, and the Leagues wrote to the House Committee on Financial Services on Tuesday.

“We encourage the Bureau to consistently engage industry stakeholders in its policy-setting processes. It is impossible for the Bureau to fulfill its mission, ’to make consumer financial markets work for consumers, responsible providers, and the economy as a whole,’ if its leadership does not take the time to hear the concerns and priorities of the entities subject to its rulemaking and supervision,” the letter said.

CUNA and the Leagues called out the disproportionate effect that the Bureau’s one-size-fits-all approach to regulation has on financial cooperatives like credit unions, noting the policy’s role in speeding consolidation and reducing consumer access.

In a separate letter to the committee, CUNA called on lawmakers to push the CFPB to reduce the regulatory burden that the Bureau places on community financial institutions like credit unions. Specifically, CUNA noted that by diverting resources from smaller local institutions with a track record of doing right by people, the CFPB will free up resources to go after the bad actors that it was created to police: large too-big-to-fail banks.

“Congress created the CFPB specifically to address the irresponsible lending and banking practices of large too-big-to-fail banks and unregulated sectors of the consumer financial services marketplace,” the letter reads. “These entities are where the Bureau should dedicate most of its time and resources. If the Bureau spent fewer resources on regulating and supervising credit unions and other small lenders subject to federal prudential regulation, then it will have more available to focus on the businesses actively engaged in objectionable practices that exploit consumers. We believe this balance can be accomplished without sacrificing important consumer protections.”