Federal Legislative Update: Regulatory Relief Bills Move Through the House, Senate Action Should Follow Shortly

The United States House of Representatives recently passed eight bills designed to bring regulatory relief to U.S. financial institutions as they marked “Financial Independence Week.” Six of the eight bills were passed under suspension of the rules, with no opposition.

The eight bills are: 

  • H.R. 299, the Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act
  • H.R. 601, the Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act
  • H.R. 1259, the Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act
  • H.R. 1265, the Bureau Advisory Commission Transparency Act
  • H.R. 1367, to amend the Expedited Funds Availability Act to clarify the application of that Act to American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • H.R. 1480, the SAFE Act Confidentiality and Privilege Enhancement Act, sponsored by Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL).
  • H.R. 685, the Mortgage Choice Act
  • H.R. 650, the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act

This is in addition to nine CUNA-supported regulatory relief bills passed just before the break.

While the House’s strategy of passing out individual bills continues, the Senate Banking Committee is close to releasing a comprehensive regulatory relief package that we expect will include several of the specific bills passed by the House and more. 

Member Business Lending

This week Congressman Blumenauer (D-OR) and Congresswoman DelBene (D-WA) added their names to H.R. 1188 which would increase credit unions’ statutory limit on member business loans from 12.25% to 27.5%. These two members join Congresswoman Bonamici (D-OR) who signed on earlier.

Data Security

On Friday a bill that would establish a national data security standard was introduced in the House. The Data Protection Act would establish a process for companies of all sizes to follow in order to secure consumer data.

CUNA immediately voiced strong support, signing onto a letter with other financial trade organizations supporting the bill.

“The reforms in the bill would effectively replace the current patchwork of state and federal regulations for data breaches with a national law that provides uniform protections across the country,” the letter reads. “This comprehensive approach would better serve consumers by making it easier for businesses and government agencies to take the steps necessary to adequately protect all Americans from identity theft and account fraud.”

Previously, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015 (H.R. 1770) by a 29-20 vote, a bill that CUNA and other financial services organizations say “falls short of adequately protecting consumers.” 

On the Senate side, Senators Carper (D-DE) and Blunt (R-MO) have introduced a data breach bill, S. 961, that includes more of credit unions’ priorities including requiring entities to better safeguard sensitive information, national preemption of state laws, notification requirements and an important provision to exclude financial institutions from the requirements being that they are already subject to rigorous standards under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.

In the end, several bills focused on this issue provides the opportunity to continue this important conversation via several different sponsors and committees, and could produce one comprehensive bill that takes the best from each individual bill.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.


Posted in Advocacy News, Federal.