CUNA files SCOTUS brief supporting CFPB under appropriations

July 11, 2023

CUNA, the American Association of Credit Union Leagues, and National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court Monday in Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) v. Community Financial Services Association of America. The lawsuit deals with the constitutionality of the CFPB’s funding mechanism, and CUNA is a longtime supporter of placing the bureau under the appropriations process.

“The broad power of the CFPB wields over financial products that affect every consumer makes it especially important the bureau operate with maximum transparency and accountability,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “Its current structure brings it under less oversight than any other federal financial regulator, and we hope the court’s decision addresses the clear constitutional issues in the current structure, and that its decision while minimizing disruptions to the financial services marketplace as we suggest in our brief.”

The organizations note the CFPB is structured differently than other financial regulators, including NCUA. NCUA is funded by credit unions and provides regulation and services to credit unions.

The brief calls for the court to affirm but stay the lower court’s judgement to minimize market disruptions and allow Congress to create a constitutionally sound structure for the bureau.

“Eliminating the agency from the regulatory ecosystem overnight would be dangerous and create uncertainty,” the brief reads. “For this reason, the least disruptive remedy is for the Court to stay its judgment in the case for three to six months and leave the appropriations process to Congress.”

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the CFPB’s funding mechanism unconstitutional in an October 2022 decision, and the U.S Supreme Court announced in February it would hear the challenge.

CFPB Director Rohit Chopra appeared onstage with Nussle at the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference the day the Supreme Court accepted the challenge, and said he looked forward to the court’s decision providing certainty to CFPB rulemakings.