GAC: Warren says CUs are 'bright spot' in financial industry

March 11, 2015

WASHINGTON (3/12/15)--Credit unions are a model for how financial institutions can provide real value to members and their communities, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference Wednesday.

Click to view larger imageSen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) calls credit unions "the bright spot of the financial industry" during her remarks at CUNA's GAC Wednesday. (CUNA Photo)

During her remarks, Warren praised the credit union system and shared her thoughts on what financial services reform should look like.

"As one Wall Street scandal after another unfolded, credit unions have been the bright spot in the financial industry," she said. "Credit unions did not break this economy. They did not build business models around tricking their customers. And when the economy faltered, they did not turn their backs on the families and small businesses that needed them. Instead, credit unions worked hard to lead our economic recovery, responsibly and reliably providing credit to their members who needed them."

Warren said she has goals similar to those of the credit union system: a level playing field for credit unions and other small financial institutions. To Warren, while she was helping set up to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), this meant clear rules that "give a break to those who provide transparent, valuable products" to consumers.

"I want to be clear about regulatory changes. If credit unions and community banks can show me regulations of supervisory practices that are unnecessary, then I'm ready to work together to find a better approach," she said. "But I will not support changes that hamstring the CFPB, and I will not go back to a world where big financial institutions can make billions of dollars by cheating their customers."

Ending the "kid glove treatment" of big banks, eliminating subsidies to too-big-to-fail banks, prosecuting bank executives who break the law and leveling the playing field for credit unions and community banks constitute meaningful reform of the financial services industry, Warren said.

During the creation of the CFPB, Warren also credited the credit union system for being "a great partner in helping to set the agency on the right path, and helping keep it on the right path."