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CFPB board if created must add CU expertise CUNA
WASHINGTON (4/7/11)—In a hearing that focused largely on the composition of the pending Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) leadership, SECU of Maryland CEO Rod Staatz suggested that a credit union representative be added to the lineup if the CFPB leadership structure is expanded beyond a single individual.
Click to view larger image SECU of Maryland CEO Rod Staatz tells federal lawmakers Wednesday that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should exempt credit unions, and the pro-consumer products they provide, from any onerous rules that the bureau might create. (CUNA Photo).
H.R. 1121, the Responsible Consumer Financial Protection Regulations Act, was one of a pair of bills discussed at the House Financial Services subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit Wednesday hearing. That bill would replace the proposed single CFPB director position with a five-person panel. While many saw the need for greater diversity in CFPB leadership, others noted that broadening CFPB leadership beyond a single agency head could create gridlock and delay critical, pressing rulemaking. Many legislators, including Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), noted that credit unions were not the cause of the recent financial crisis, which provided the impetus for the creation of the CFPB. Grand Rapids State Bank CEO Noah Wilcox, Consumer Bankers Association President Richard Hunt, Bank of Bennington CEO Leslie Andersen, Washington Gas Light FCU CEO Lynette Smith, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness Director Jess Sharp, Director, NAACP Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy Hilary Shelton, and Georgetown University Law Center Professor Adam Levitin also testified during the hearing. H.R. 1351, the Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act, was also discussed during the hearing. Staatz said that CUNA and his credit union support portions of that bill that would replace the proposed two-thirds voting approval threshold with a simple majority threshold to strengthen the review authority of the Financial Stability Oversight Council of regulations issued by the CFPB. Staatz in written testimony also encouraged legislators to urge the CFPB to exempt credit unions, and the pro-consumer products they provide, from any onerous rules that the CFPB may create. A formal exemption process has not been established, and Staatz asked subcommittee members to ensure that a process is created in a timely fashion. Staatz also took the opportunity to cover the credit union difference, noting that while credit unions have to make “a little profit” to ensure their safety and soundness, credit unions “exist” for their members. “They own us,” he said of credit union members.

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