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Issa calls for data protection without CU regulatory burden
WASHINGTON (2/26/14)--House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that congressional leaders need to strengthen cybersecurity rules without mandating additional regulatory burdens on credit unions and other financial institutions.

Click to view larger image Small credit unions shouldn't be burdened by regulations to where they feel the need to become mega credit unions, says House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) in his speech during the Tuesday session of CUNA's 2014 Governmental Affairs Conference. (CUNA Photo)
Issa said at the 2014 Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington that multiple congressional committees need to bring together public and private sector stakeholders to draft rules designed to prevent data breaches like the recent high-profile holiday season attack on Target.

The congressman also told attendees that the House Oversight Committee recently sent a list of questions to the retail conglomerate. The letter asked Target to disclose internal discussion between Nov. 1 and Dec. 13 in which employees or contractors discuss "any suspicion" that its security apparatus had been penetrated (Reuters Feb. 25).

CUNA and the Consumer Bankers Association have estimated that the theft, which affected some 40 million credit and debit card users' sensitive information, cost credit unions and banks roughly $200 million. CUNA CEO Bill Cheney said that credit unions have replaced 85% of the cards targeted in the attack at no cost to members (News Now Feb. 20).

Much like the response to the recent financial crisis, credit unions are concerned that they will be held responsible for complying with additional federal rules designed to remedy a problem they did not cause--something, Issa said, he is trying to prevent.

"After 2008, it was the credit unions that were unfazed, doing their jobs," he commented. "Small credit unions shouldn't be burdened by regulations to where they feel the need to become mega credit unions, which are more and more like big banks."

He said that current cybersecurity rules, like those enacted by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, "fail to give credit unions a way to deal with cyberthreats." But he warned that mandating change could lead to "a single winner."

Issa told attendees that credit unions are dear to him--that in 1971 a federal credit union gave him a loan to buy a 1961 MGA, a sports car made by the now-defunct British Motor Corp.

"It was everything to me," he recalled, and joked, "I had a car I could work on night after night." He said that the hobby kept him busy, and he wondered what he would have done without it.

"Credit unions have changed my life," he said.

Issa also told attendees that credit unions shouldn't face regulatory impediments to small business loans, speaking as the former owner of "a small business, a micro business."

"There were credit unions that believed in me," he said.


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