Northwest Credit Unions Meet with Matz, Fazio, CFPB Leadership

The Spring Hike the Hill trip to Washington, D.C. brought dual value to Northwest credit union leaders. The delegation led by the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) reported effective meetings with Congressional representatives where the benefits of the credit union structure and the importance of the not-for-profit tax exemption took center stage.

The Northwest credit union leaders also had face-to-face meetings with top regulators at the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The meetings gave them a front row seat to get the latest information on a number of nascent issues, including mortgage rule implementation and hedging interest rate risk.

Advocates hosted a lunch for NCUA Chair Debbie Matz and senior staff at the Credit Union House on May 22. Matz gave a brief update on the latest developments at the NCUA, informing advocates that she had written letters to key legislators in support of credit unions’ member business lending and supplemental capital bills.

“That really pleased our Northwest advocates, as both pieces of legislation will help well-managed credit unions provide affordable capital to Americans,” said John Trull, director of regulatory affairs for the NWCUA.

“Larry Fazio, NCUA’s director of examination and insurance, also impressed advocates with his ability to answer technical questions,” Trull continued. “Advocates asked questions related to the recently released derivatives proposal, expressing concerns about the $25,000 application fee. Both Fazio and Matz pointed out that the derivatives proposal has not been finalized and that credit unions should write in to express concerns.”

While the cost of the application is undecided, Matz was clear that ultimately credit unions will need to pay for the program. Overall, Trull said, advocates felt that having another option to hedge interest rate risk is a step in the right direction.

Interest was piqued when Fazio gave an overview of a proposal that will likely come out before the end of the year. The proposal still being ironed out would increase capital requirements for complex credit unions but may give credit unions the ability to use a risk based capital formula and the ability to accept supplemental capital on requirements above 7%.

“Increasing capital requirements has the potential to decrease the benefits to credit union members,” said Trull. “We will be following developments around this proposal very carefully.”

The NCUA is also taking a close look at the by-laws and looking for ways to improve them, Matz indicated, and told Northwest advocates that Documents of Resolution (DoR) will be used less frequently. Exam issues were addressed separately in a meeting with Fazio and the Exam and Supervisory Issues Task Force of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). Tom Griffith, CEO of Pacific NW Federal Credit Union, sits on that task force and shared the Northwest perspective. 

On May 23, advocates met with a number of representatives from the embattled Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The meeting was facilitated by Dan Walsh who was recently hired by the CFPB to be the liaison between financial institutions and the Bureau.

Walsh turned the meeting over to Ana Mahoney who advises CFPB Director Richard Cordray on “Project Catalyst,” the CFPB’s initiative to support innovation in the financial services space. Mahoney shared the vision and talked about the Bureau’s support for innovative pilot projects and disclosures.

Advocates also brought up concerns about the implementation of a mountain of mortgage rules set to take effect over the next seven months, as well as the recently finalized remittance transfer rule. Other topics discussed on the CFPB’s radar were student loans, courtesy pay programs and the work of the advisory councils.

“The accessibility, time and contributions made the trip to Washington mutually beneficial to the regulators and our credit union leaders,” Trull noted.

 

Questions? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225, lheider@nwcua.org.

Posted in Advocacy News, Community Impact, Events, NCUA, NWCUA.