NWCUA Regulatory Advocacy Update: Association Collaborates with CFPB, CUNA

Association Meets with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

At last week’s Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC), delegates from the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) met with representatives of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), including Bart Shapiro, senior advisor in the Office of Community Banks and Credit Unions; Leandra English, deputy associate director for external affairs; and Judith Kozlowski, counsel with the Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans.

“The meeting was a great opportunity to meet key players and learn more about current and pending Bureau activity,” said Jaycee Winn, director of regulatory advocacy for the NWCUA.

Bureau staff discussed a few of their upcoming deadlines, including their final rule on mortgage ability to repay, which is due Jan. 1, 2013, and the much-awaited combined TILA/RESPA form, which is due July 21, 2012. These deadlines were mandated by Congress in the Dodd-Frank Act. The CFPB is also working on other mortgage-related issues, such as mortgage servicing and mortgage loan origination requirements.

CFPB staff also mentioned the current effort to help streamline the regulations the bureau inherited from seven government agencies. Having received hundreds of responses to its first comment call from stakeholders in as many industries, CFPB staff realized that their method for seeking input on all these regulations at once was overwhelming. To help manage the process, the CFPB has implemented a tool on its website that allows a commenter to choose the specific regulation and part of that regulation they would like to see changed. Commenters are then able to describe the specific changes they would like to see, the reason this change is necessary, and the impact this would have on consumers and financial services providers. Winn described it as “an interesting tool,” saying, “It’s exciting to see that they are taking into account the financial services provider in seeking comments.”

The new CFPB comment tool can be accessed here, and comments will be accepted until June 4. Broad comments should be shared them with the Association here, as NWCUA staff is in the process of drafting a comprehensive comment letter.

The bureau also has a mandate to improve consumer financial education and engagement. The CFPB has said it plans to “educate in the moment,” educating as consumers are making financial decisions so that they have the tools they need to make smart decisions. It is also focusing on empowerment for the unbanked, looking at special populations, such as students, service members and older Americans. A close partnership between credit unions and the CFPB has been established, and bureau staff indicated that it clearly recognized the value credit unions provide to these populations.

The Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans is working on a “lay fiduciary guide” to help caretakers for and the cognitively impaired deal with financial issues, which could be an important tool for credit unions. The office is also looking into “senior advising designations” and the use of those designations to commit fraud. They are also working in concert with the Administration on Aging and with state agencies to prevent broad elder financial abuse.

The bureau staff discussed ways they are incorporating stakeholder input into their rulemakings, including the development of the Consumer Advisory Board, which will be comprised of 30 or fewer members from multiple financial and consumer industries and will report to the Executive Board. This board was mandated by Congress in Dodd-Frank and is currently accepting applications, with a first meeting likely scheduled for July.

The CFPB has also been following its mandate to convene Small Business Regulatory Fairness Act (SBREFA) Panels when a proposed regulation would have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. These panels are made up of representatives from potentially impacted industries, and their input is sought prior to a regulatory proposal so that any unintended consequences can be avoided and negative consequences can be minimized. Additionally, they are expected to soon form a Credit Union Advisory Council. This Council will report to the Office of Community Banks and Credit Unions and will be an ongoing advisor as regulations are developed, changed and implemented.

Ultimately, the meeting’s tone was positive, leaving both sides optimistic at the prospect of continued collaboration.

“We remain hopeful that the CFPB will be a good partner as they move forward,” Winn said, “and that efforts to understand the potential impact of regulation on credit unions will be sincere and heeded.”


Association Partnering with CUNA to Collect Exam Experiences

The Association and CUNA are working to review and analyze data collected from credit unions after their exams to help provide direction and recommendations for changes to the supervisory process. A form has been developed for credit unions to offer detailed information following an exam to help direct this process. The information provided is strictly confidential and will be used in aggregate without identifying individual credit unions.

“We would encourage credit unions to take the time to fill out this questionnaire after their exams to help make this a meaningful process,” Winn said. “As always, if there are issues with your exam and you need assistance, please contact the Association directly, as action will not be taken from this survey.”

More information, along with the opportunity to take the survey, is available on CUNA’s website.


Oregon Public Funds Meeting Next Week

The Association will be hosting a meeting to discuss next steps in the implementation of the public funds program in Oregon on Tuesday, April 3, from 1:30-3:30 p.m. in Beaverton. The Treasurer’s Office will attend the latter half of the meeting to help answer questions and provide feedback.

Thos interested in attending the meeting are asked to register by emailing Jaycee Winn or calling her at 800.995.9064 ext. 209.

 

The NWCUA Regulatory Advocacy team works with state and federal regulators to help reduce the regulatory burden on credit unions and protect the credit union movement. The Association encourages members to participate in the regulatory process. If you have any questions on these or any regulatory issues, please contact Director of Regulatory Advocacy Jaycee Winn at jwinn@nwcua.org, or at 800.995.9064 x209.

Posted in Around the NW, NWCUA.