GAC: Neugebauer spells out goals for CU regulatory relief

March 9, 2015

WASHINGTON (3/10/15)--Less than a week after introducing a bill that would broaden the leadership structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)--a bill supported by CUNA--Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) was up in front of credit union leaders at CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference laying out his plan to provide credit unions further regulatory relief.

Click to view larger imageAt Monday's afternoon general session, Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) lays out three ways he will aim to provide regulatory relief to credit unions and other small financial institutions this legislative session: Regulatory reform, smart and effective consumer protection, and cybersecurity and data protection. (CUNA Photo)

The Financial Product Safety Commission Act (H.R. 1266) that Neugebauer introduced would change the CPFB leadership to a five-person board from a single director (News Now March 5). 

At Monday's afternoon general session, Neugebauer described three additional ways he will attempt to provide regulatory relief to credit unions: through legislation that would address regulatory reforms, smart and effective consumer protections, and cybersecurity and data protection.

"Those are the three areas we'll be focusing on, and it's with one common goal," Neugebauer said. "Ultimately, it's to continue to provide the American people with the best financial system in the world. And you're very much a part of that, I appreciate that and I appreciate what you do in our communities."

In terms of regulatory reform, Neugebauer said that federal lawmakers have handed down such a large number of new laws in the wake of the financial crisis, causing such a regulatory burden, that it has prevented credit unions from serving their members as effectively as possible.    

"We threw this big net over the marketplace trying to make our markets consumer proof and trying to make sure that banks don't fail," Neugebauer said. "(But we turned) too big to fail into too small to succeed ... and that's a concern."

Next, through smart and effective consumer protection, Neugebauer said lawmakers can protect consumers while also allowing financial institutions to develop new products that adequately serve their members and customers. 

With regulations that overreach, he said, that type of innovation may never occur. 

"The regulations that are coming out of many of your regulators and the CFPB are so prescriptive that it's gone from regulating, or protecting, to the point where, in some cases, there's not anything to protect the consumer from because those products are going away," Neugebauer said. 

Finally, Neugebauer discussed the importance of cybersecurity and data protections, and maintained the payments network, including merchants, must all follow the same stringent standards in order to safeguard consumer data--a position CUNA also advocates.  

"Cybersecurity or data security is only as secure as the weakest link," Neugebauer said, adding, "I'm told that the Target and Home Depot (breaches) cost the (credit union) industry $90 million, not to mention all of the headaches of reissuing cards and all those things. So what we need is to make sure that everybody has an interest in coming up with the solutions that will keep our systems working properly and without disruption."