Congressional Update: Much Action of Interest to Credit Unions

9/20/2017

It was a busy first couple of weeks in Congress after Members returned from the Labor Day Weekend. For credit unions, the first piece of business centered around an amendment to H.R. 3354 (one of the budget bills moving through the House). H.R. 3354 contained language that would put the NCUA, OCC and FDIC all under the appropriations process. NCUA is currently funded by fees on credit unions (not taxpayer dollars) and isn’t subject to congressional appropriations. CUNA and the Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL) worked, along with other leagues around the country, to ask our U.S. Representatives to support an amendment offered by Rep. Amodei that would pull the NCUA back out of congressional appropriations.

Among other concerns was the fact that, by co-mingling credit union dollars with taxpayer dollars, our credit union funds could be used for purposes other than funding the NCUA. ICUL worked with our Principal Key Contacts (PKCs) and other CEOs around the state, reaching out to our House members and asking for their support of the “Amodei amendment.” Our collective efforts were impactful, as the amendment to H.R. 3354 was passed on the House floor on September 14 via voice vote. Thanks to everyone who assisted with this significant victory!


Beyond that particular issue, H.R. 3354 contains several other provisions important to credit unions. The bill includes language that would bring the CFPB under the appropriations process, reform its UDAAP authority, and add more checks and balances to the CFPB rulemaking process. Other relief provisions include the repeal of the CFPB Small Business Loan Data Collection program and repeal of the CFPB’s authority to write rules for arbitration. In addition, the bill provides for community financial institution mortgage relief as well as “safe harbor” for certain loans held on portfolio.

H.R. 3354 does cut CDFI funding by $58 million, which is disappointing.  However, it is important to keep in mind that, at $190 million, the legislation still funds this program at a historically high level.  The bill now moves onto the Senate.

Finally, the bill’s report includes language that is helpful to credit unions as well. It includes:

 

  • Regulation of Community Financial Institutions—The Committee remains concerned with federal regulation of community banks and credit unions. The Committee requests each financial regulator to consider the risk profile and business model of a financial institution when the regulator engages in a regulatory action. In doing so, the regulator must determine the necessity, appropriateness, and impact of applying its regulatory action to an institution or class of institutions, and importantly, is directed to tailor its regulatory action in a manner that limits the regulatory compliance impact, cost, liability risk or other burdens as is appropriate for the risk profile and business model involved.

 

ICUL staff and PKCs will be traveling to D.C. the first week of October to continue advocacy efforts on the legislation, as well as important issues such as tax reform and data security.

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