CUNA Advocacy Update

Congress: Now returning from a seven-week recess, Congress has a relatively modest agenda slated for its final pre-election session. While leaders will call-up a number of minor bills in September, the main event this month will be a funding resolution to keep the government open past the end of the fiscal year on September 30. The major question is whether this will be a short-term continuing resolution into December, or a longer CR into the first part of next year. Answering this question will involve a dance not only between Republicans and Democrats, but also between leaders and appropriators in the Senate and the House. 

In the meantime, the House this week is expected to consider H.R.2357, the “Accelerating Access to Capital Act of 2015”; H.R.5424, the “Investment Advisers Modernization Act of 2016”; and H.R.5063, the “Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act of 2016.” The Senate will resume consideration of the Conference Report to accompany H.R.2577, the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for 2017.

As usual, we are following several committee hearings on both sides of the Capitol, including the following:

Wednesday

  • The House Financial Services Committee Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Federal Reserve Districts: Governance, Monetary Policy, and Economic Performance.”

Thursday

  • The House Financial Services Committee Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Fueling Terror: The Dangers of Ransom Payments to Iran.”

Friday

  • The House Financial Services Committee Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Corporate Governance: Fostering a System that Promotes Capital Formation and Maximizes Shareholder Value.”

Programming Note: The Congressional schedule suggests that Congress will wrap-up its work on September 30; however, don’t be surprised if the House (and maybe the Senate) skips town a week earlier.  If a funding resolution is in place, there is little reason for the chambers to stick around.  Members on both sides of the aisle will be eager to get home in advance of the elections.

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
OMB Request: Consumer Response Company Response Survey September 30, 2016 CFPB Luke Martone
Payday Loans October 7, 2016 CFPB Leah Dempsey
Single-Family Credit Risk Transfer October 13, 2016 FHFA Andy Price
Amendments to TRID under Reg Z October 18, 2016 CFPB Andy Price
CIP/AML & Beneficial Ownership Requirements for Banks Lacking a Functional Federal Regulator October 24, 2016 FinCEN Luke Martone
Request for Information: Payday Loans November 7, 2016 CFPB Leah Dempsey

Congressional Schedule, Regulatory Agenda Shape Fall Advocacy Outlook: At the beginning of the year, we set out to implement an advocacy agenda that was aimed at getting Congress to influence regulators to reduce credit unions’ regulatory burden. Using our unparalleled grassroots machine and our first-of-its-kind Regulatory Burden Study, credit unions, leagues and CUNA brought together an unprecedented 399 Members of Congress – bipartisan super-majorities of both chambers and both parties – to send a strong message that regulatory burden was impeding service to credit union members.

Our hope was that this effort would help abate the harshness of pending and anticipated proposals, and improve those – like NCUA’s new Field of Membership rule – that have the potential to help credit unions more fully serve Americans. So far, we’ve seen some progress; after we loudly and publicly pushed for it, the CFPB acknowledged that it does indeed have some exemption authority (although we continue to push for broader and more widespread use). Also, NCUA has moved from saying “no” to our pleas for examination fairness and efficiency, to undertaking a comprehensive overhaul of its supervisory processes. The CFPB also has not yet moved forward on certain rulemakings such as overdraft and first party debt collection, after we urged it to further analyze these issues before taking any regulatory action.

Meanwhile, relief from Congress has been small and slow. Last year’s Transportation Bill delivered three key changes that provided some relief; nevertheless, as we move toward the end of this year, conventional wisdom suggests it is not prudent to expect further help from this Congress. There are only a handful of legislative days remaining before the election, and the prospects for a lame duck session remain uncertain.  While it is true that a number of our priorities are well-positioned to move in a functional and efficient lame duck, functional and efficient are not adjectives one regularly associates with the 114th Congress, or any recent Congress for that matter.

However, as this Congress enters into its homestretch, regulators continue their fevered pace, with the CFPB leading the way. Pending proposals on arbitration and small dollar lending, as well as anticipated proposals on third and first party debt collection, threaten to further constrain the ability of credit unions to efficiently and effectively deliver safe and affordable financial services to their members. This makes our advocacy strategy – which has seen some success this year – all the more important as we approach an election that is guaranteed to deliver a new administration that will come into office with its own agenda and priorities.

August Advocacy Advances Credit Union Priorities: Even though we did not publish an Advocacy Update during August, there was plenty happening to advance credit union priorities in Washington and throughout the country.

America’s credit unions were well represented at the meetings of the two major state legislature groups, the National Conference of State Legislators and the American Legislative Exchange Council. We also carried forward a fierce advocacy message to the CFPB on a wide range of issues including debt collection, TILA/RESPA, privacy notifications, arbitration, small dollar lending, and exemption authority.

Check out the Removing Barrier Blog posts you may have missed over the last few weeks:  

Posted in Advocacy News, CUNA.