CUNA Regulatory Advocacy Report

Here is what you need to know about credit union advocacy this week:

  • The House Financial Services Committee will markup pending legislation on Tuesday.
  • Amendments related to privacy notifications and the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could be considered in the House this week.
  • CUNA Member Robin Simmers, president and CEO of Pahranagat Valley FCU, will testify before the House Small Business Committee on Friday.

In Congress

The Senate will begin consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 1140, the bipartisan Federal Water Quality Protection Act.  The House is expected to consider legislation related to the Highway Trust Fund as well as the National Defense Authorization Act.  
 
We will be closely following the amendment process to both bills.  Several financial services amendments have already been filed in the Rules Committee on the Highway Trust Fund bill (see below), and the Defense Authorization Act has been used in recent years as a vehicle for financial services policy.
 
As usual, we are following several committee meetings on both sides of the Capitol, including the following:
 
Tuesday

  • The House Financial Services Committee will hold a full committee markup of pending legislation, including:
    • H.R.1309, the “Systemic Risk Designation Improvement Act of 2015”
    • H.R.1478, the “Policyholder Protection Act of 2015”
    • H.R.1550, the “Financial Stability Oversight Council Improvement Act of 2015”
    • H.R.1660, the “Federal Savings Association Charter Flexibility Act of 2015”
    • H.R.2209, to require the appropriate Federal banking agencies to treat certain municipal obligations as level 2A liquid assets
    • H.R.3340, the “Financial Stability Oversight Council Reform Act”
    • H.R.3557, the “FSOC Transparency and Accountability Act”
    • H.R.3738, the “Office of Financial Research Accountability Act of 2015”
    • H.R. _____, the “Small Business Credit Availability Act”
      Note:This bill does not have a number because it has not been introduced in the House of Representatives.
    • H.R.3857, to require the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Financial Stability Oversight Council to carry out certain requirements under the Financial Stability Act of 2010 before making any new determination under section 113 of such act.
    • The Senate Judiciary Committee Privacy, Technology and the Law Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Data Brokers – Is Consumers’ Information Secure.”
    • The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a full committee markup to vote on the nomination of Adam Szubin to be Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes.

Wednesday

  • The House Financial Services Committee will hold a full committee hearing on “Semi-Annual Testimony on the Federal Reserve’s Supervision and Regulation of the Financial System.”

Friday

  • The House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations will hold a hearing entitled, “Regulatory Overload:  The Effects of Federal Regulation on Small Firms.”  This hearing will be held in North Las Vegas, Nevada.  Ms. Robin Simmers, president and chief executive officer of Pahranagat Valley FCU in Alamo, NV, will testify on behalf of CUNA.

Highway Trust Fund Bill

Last week, Congress enacted legislation to extend the highway trust fund until the middle of November.  This legislation provides a bit more time for Congress to enact a longer term solution. This week, the House will take up a long term extension, and its offsets provide the potential to move some key financial services policy.

More than 80 amendments have been filed in the Rules Committee.  The vast majority of these are not likely to be made in order by the Committee.  Nevertheless, we are following two amendments that CUNA strongly supports:

  • Luetkemeyer #21:
    Eliminates the requirement to send annual privacy notifications if the privacy policy has not been changed.
  • Neugebauer #36:
    Replaces the CFPB Director with a five person bipartisan commission.
  • Hensarling:
    Comprehensive Regulatory Relief for Financial Institutions, including the privacy notification bill, and the bill to permit privately insured credit unions to join the Federal Home Loan Bank system.

If these amendments are made in order, we will send communication to the House reiterating our strong support.

Pending Regulatory Comment Calls

CUNA intends to comment on the following pending regulatory proposals.  For our comment letter to have the greatest impact, we need to hear from you.  Please consider whether and how these proposals would affect your credit union.  If you have feedback or questions regarding any proposal, please contact the CUNA staff listed with each proposal.

We encourage Leagues and credit unions to use PowerComment to file comment letters with regulators.  For more information regarding these proposals, please follow the links below:

Issue Comment Period Deadline Agency CUNA Staff Contact
ALM/SAR Filing Requirements for Financial Advisors November 2, 2015 NCUA Luke Martone
Request to Develop Survey on POS/ATM Overdraft Disclosures November 3, 2015 FinCEN Luke Martone
Definition of “small entity” under the Regulatory Flexibility Act November 23, 2015 CFPB Lance Noggle

Eye Toward 2016: Wisconsin Credit Union League

In 2016, the Wisconsin Credit Union League (The League) will continue its efforts to remove barriers for its member credit unions.  In January, more than 200 Activists will gather at the State Government Affairs Conference (State GAC) to set the groundwork for pro-credit union reforms.  The conference illustrates the strength of the movement and gives attendees the ability to establish working relationships with 132 state legislators.

Building off of recent legislative successes, in 2016 The League and State GAC attendees will ask legislators to clarify, modernize and streamline the state’s credit union act.

“The substantive changes, including permitting prize-linked savings, will strengthen our state charter by making it more dynamic and durable – allowing credit unions to better serve their members,” said The League’s Government Affairs Specialist, Sarah Wainscott.

With all but three of the state’s credit unions being state-chartered, not only is it important to have a strong state act, but equally crucial to protect the independence of our state regulator. The League and activists fought hard to do so during the last state budget deliberations and will continue that battle into 2016.

In addition to maintaining a keen focus on modernizing the credit union act in Wisconsin, The League will continue to engage on federal matters with its congressional delegation.  This is particularly important given the influence and leadership roles of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Financial Services Committee members, Reps. Sean Duffy and Gwen Moore.

“Given the positions held by these members, our regular face-to-face meetings with them are invaluable. In addition to seeking support for pro-credit union legislation, we will continue to express our concerns with the growing body of complex regulations that limit our credit unions’ ability to serve their members and impact the communities those members live and work in,” Wainscott continues, “Breaking down these barriers is key to our members’ future success.”

CUNA Advocates Continue to Press NCUA

CUNA’s Bill Hampel, Chief Economist and chief Policy Officer, Elizabeth Eurgubian, Deputy Chief Advocacy Officer, and Andy Price, Sr. Director of Advocacy were present at NCUA’s Open Forum on Friday and pressed issues of concern to credit unions.  Issues such as the pending FASB rules on CECL, Member Business rule (MBL), the exam cycle, TCPA and others were the focus of the discussion.  All three NCUA board members were present at the forum together with key senior staff from the NCUA.  Several representatives from Credit Union Leagues were also present.

Larry Fazio, Director of Examination and Insurance, NCUA, stated “If FASB does adopt this [CECL}, and we expect them to, we do expect to see an increase in ALLL.  Under the statue net worth is defined as retained earnings, and that we cannot change.  As a result when you expense it, the net worth ratio will come down a little bit, or a lot.  So we will obviously put some guidance out to examiners and we will make it clear as part of the capital analysis if that is the only reason for the capital decline that is not something to worry about.  What we can’t change is if it causes credit unions to fall below the thresholds for PCA category.  We will have to take action as required, but could also take into consideration (the higher loan loss figure) in the net worth restoration plan.”

Fazio also commented that they anticipated issuing  extensive guidance to examiners in connection with the MBL rule that would contain “guideposts” but still allow credit unions the intended flexibility contemplated by the rule.  He also commented that with the pending ARIES upgrades and other technological enhancements including a secure portal to communicate with credit unions, their goal was to reduce the on-site portion of the exam.  This may ultimately lead to their ability to retreat from the annual examination requirement for some credit unions.

In connection with the FCC Order on TCPA, NCUA says that they have heard from CUNA and other credit unions about the concerns of the FCC’s order and are communicating with them about credit union issues.  Ultimately the Order belongs to another agency and they will need to act in order to provide relief.

Chairman Matz also alluded that more regulatory relief could come by the end of the year with their final Field of Membership rule and rule on Supplemental Capital.  She further stated that she did not anticipate a separate rule for Interest Rate Risk.  CUNA will continue to follow up with the NCUA on these and other issues.

Last Week on the Removing Barriers Blog

Timberland FCU CEO Testifies Before Senate Committee

President/CEO of affiliate Timberland FCU Carrie Wood testified before the U.S. Senate Banking subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer protection, during a hearing on the effects of regulatory burdens on rural financial institutions.

Michigan Credit Union League Seeks CU Act Updates

The Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) successfully introduced updates to Michigan’s credit union act this week. The state’s credit union act has not been updated in more than 12 years and the changes would ease the regulatory burden of Michigan credit unions and provide flexibility for credit unions to better serve members.

CUNA and the Leagues Respond to Renewed Chip-and-PIN Efforts

After pushback from CUNA, credit union leagues and other electronic payments stakeholders, sent a retailer-backed letter asking state attorneys general to sign a letter urging chip-and-PIN is being recirculated.

CUNA and Joint Trades Submit Statement for Second House Hearing on EMV

CUNA, along with several other financial services trade associations, submitted a statement for last week’s House Small Business Committee Hearing on EMV technology.

Joint Trades Letter on Final Amendments to CISA

Along with several other trades, CUNA submitted a letter to Senate leaders Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid, urging them to support S. 754 (CISA) and expressing concern with some of its recent amendments.

Two-Year Budget Deal Reached to Avoid Debt Ceiling

A two-year budget deal has been reached between congressional leaders in both parties and the White House.

Advocacy Team Members Participate in the CUNA’s Attorneys Conference

CUNA attorneys joined nearly 150 lawyers to discuss issues facing the credit union industry. Regulators from both the CFPB and the NCUA also participated in the event.

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