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News Now

Washington
Reg reform rollout to continue after summer break
WASHINGTON (8/11/09)--Although debate on the Hill over regulatory reform has paused due to the ongoing district work period, reform will remain high on the congressional agenda once Washington returns to its normal schedule early next month. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) expressed confidence that the House would pass on a regulatory reform bill to the Senate by October, with President Barack Obama signing the completed legislation by the end of the year. Frank added that there was no conflict with other pending health care and environmental legislation. Frank has publicly expressed the need for a new regulatory regime that would hold regulators accountable to their responsibilities as overseers, limit some securitizations by requiring some risk retention and protect consumers. Consumer protection has been a frequent topic of debate, and several sources have indicated that the House could hold markup sessions as well as a vote on the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) in September. While many in the financial services industry have publicly opposed the CFPA, which would seek to protect consumers through various rulemaking, oversight, and enforcement tools, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has said it is willing to work with legislators to ensure that the needs of credit unions are met by the legislation. CUNA has also met with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in recent months, and Geithner showed an "intense interest" in the credit union-specific issues of member business lending and alternative capital. He indicated that he looks forward to working with credit unions to address some of the perceived deficiencies in the financial regulatory structure. Possible changes to financial regulation could also include limits on executive compensation, and this issue was addressed by legislation that passed the House on July 31. H.R. 3269, the Corporate and Financial Institution Compensation Fairness Act of 2009, would seek to ensure that compensation structures do not encourage excessive risk-taking, and CUNA and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions have told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), that credit unions should be excluded from this legislation because they are not responsible for the financial issues the bill would address. While regulatory reform looks to be the most pressing issue, member business lending restrictions, interchange fees, and a number of other items that are of interest to credit unions could be addressed by the Congress soon.


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