CUNA Advocacy Update

 
This Week… The Senate is off this week for the Easter work period, but the House is in session this week and will consider H.R. 2745, the “Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules Act of 2015.”? In addition, the House may consider H.R.4721, a bill to extend the FAA authorization and tax provisions through July 15, 2016. Both chambers will be out of session next week. 
 
All of the hearings we are following this week will take place on Tuesday in the House of Representatives: 
  • The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on “The State of the International Financial System.” 
  • The House Financial Services Committee Housing and Insurance Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The Future of Housing in America: Government Regulations and the High Cost of Housing.” 
  • The House Ways and Means Committee Tax Policy Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Member Day – Fundamental Tax Reform Proposals.”? Among others, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is expected to testify. 
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing on Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission.  The FCC Commissioners will testify.  
 

On Thursday, the CFPB’s Credit Union Advisory Council will hold a meeting.  Several CUNA members serve on this council, which gives us an important opportunity to discuss concerns with CFPB rulemaking, proposals and other activities. Also on Thursday, the National Credit Union Administration will hold its March meeting

 
Cordray Testifies Before House Financial Services Committee: On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing?titled “The Semi-Annual Report of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection,” where CFPB Director Richard Cordray testified. A letter we sent?to the committee before the hearing outlined our concerns with the regulatory approach taken by the CFPB, and its reluctance to provide credit unions with meaningful regulatory relief. A large focus of the hearing was on the overregulation of small financial institutions, and a?CUNA supported letter?by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Steve Stivers (R-OH). The letter, signed by a whopping 329 individual members of Congress, called on the CFPB to use its authority to protect small financial institutions from regulatory burden, just as Congress provided for in Dodd-Frank.  
 
During the hearing, Director Cordray addressed CUNA directly in his testimony, contending that our view that the Bureau’s rulemakings are having an impact on credit unions does not align with market activity. He reinforced his message that the Bureau’s regulatory activity is “good news” for credit unions. We will be responding to the Director’s statements in a letter to the Committee and the Director this week. [More
     
Cordray Hearing Provides Insight on Payday, Debt Collection Proposals: During the House Financial Services?Committee?hearing this week, CFPB Director Richard?Cordray?provided some details about forthcoming rulemakings, including the Payday, Small-Dollar loan space,?and?the?rule concerning the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).? 
 
In response to questions about?the?small-dollar loan rules?expected within the next few months,?Cordray?indicated that he values credit union participation in the market. He stated, “We’re also trying to make sure there are ample avenues that remain for small dollar lending to be available to consumers. Community banks, credit unions have a product now that we want to make sure we are protecting and giving latitude for, and other products that may arise around the country. We don’t want to squash innovation in this area.”?[More
 
Stivers takes Exemption Fight to Appropriations Committee: On Thursday, Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) requested that the House Appropriations subcommittee on financial services and general government include “common-sense regulatory relief language” for community financial institutions in its report for FSGG legislation. Stivers was joined by 328 fellow members of Congress earlier this month requesting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) use its exemption authority to ease the regulatory burden on credit unions. Stivers cited?that letter in his FSGG request. [More
 
Looking ahead… Two crucial hearings will be held when Congress returns from its break: 
 
Tuesday, April 5 
  • The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Assessing the Effects of Consumer Finance Regulations.” The witnesses for this hearing will be Leonard Chanin, the author of CUNA’s legal opinion memo on CFPB’s statutory exemption authority, and Todd Zywicki, a professor of law at George Mason University who recently participated in a breakout session on CFPB regulations at CUNA’s GAC. 
Thursday, April 7 
  • The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Semi-Annual Report.”  CFPB Director Cordray will testify. 
CUNA and ICBA team up on CECL:  Last week, CUNA and the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) sent a letter?to FASB Chairman Russell Golden urging the accounting standard-setter to reevaluate its pending proposal on credit impairment. Our letter stated that dramatic increases in loan loss allowances with no credible evidence of heightened risk and forceful adoption of modeling techniques is a sure path to stunt economic growth. The end result is a significant reduction in extension of credit, purchases of homes, and creation of small businesses. [More
 
FCC Plans Proposed Changes to TCPA Rule for Federal Debts: We have been hearing recent?reports?that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released some details of a draft rule to exempt auto-dialer calls to collect federal debt from Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) restrictions. Those federal debts include federal student loans and FHA/VA guaranteed loans. FCC Chair Tom Wheeler?included the new details?of a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in letters responding to federal lawmakers who oppose the new exemption for government debt collectors. [More]
 
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, and contact the CUNA staff listed with each proposal with your feedback 
 
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
EGRPRA Review March 22, 2016 NCUA Andy Price
March 28, 2016 NCUA Lance Noggle
April 4, 2016 FinCEN Luke Martone
Overhead Transfer Rate Methodology April 26, 2016 NCUA Andy Price
Operating Fee Methodology April 26, 2016 NCUA Andy Price
 
In the States: This week, the Association of Vermont Credit Unions thwarted an attack by the Vermont bankers, harmful payments legislation was moved in Hawaii, Massachusetts and Minnesota, and a Wisconsin credit union modernization bill was sent to the Governor. 
 
Over on the Removing Barriers Blog the final MBL Rule has been published in the Federal Register… CUNA signals support for Senator Collins’ Elder Abuse Bill… Senator Scott asks CUNA-supported questions regarding fiduciary rule… CUNA presses regulators for guidance on the Military Lending Act rule… Rep. Amodei (R-NV) questions Treasury Secretary Lew about impact of regulatory burden on credit unions… CUNA files a comment letter on FHFA proposed rule on Enterprise Duty to Serve… CUNA discusses emerging payments issues with NCUA… the House Budget Resolution includes several regulatory relief provisions. 
 
And finally… A recent Washington Post article noted that the same partisan deadlock plaguing Washington, is also halting progress in the state capitols. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, the number of state capitals with divided government has jumped from 11 to 20 since the middle of 2014. Despite the gridlock, bills positively impacting credit unions are moving forward in 15 states due to the high regard lawmakers hold credit unions and the diligence of the Leagues.

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