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SECU's Staatz to CFPB: Contain CU reg burden
BALTIMORE, Md. (1/11/13)--SECU of Maryland President/CEO Rod Staatz noted Credit Union National Association (CUNA) concerns regarding regulatory burden in a Thursday Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) mortgage policy field hearing.

"Credit unions remain very concerned that they will be subject to a barrage of requirements even though they did not cause the financial crisis," Staatz told the gathering.

Click to view larger image Credit Union National Association Senior Assistant General Counsel Jared Ihrig, left, and SECU of Maryland President/CEO Rod Staatz, right, pose with CFPB Director Richard Cordray at the agency's mortgage policy field hearing. The CFPB released regulations addressing qualified mortgage definitions, escrow accounts and high-cost mortgages on Thursday. (CUNA Photo) 
The field hearing was held just before the CFPB released a slate of new mortgage regulations later in the day. One of those regulations addressed the standards to define a "qualified mortgage (QM)" under the agency's "ability to repay" rules.

Staatz said at the hearing that the CFPB's safe harbor approach in the QM standards should be workable for consumers and lenders. (See related story: CFPB QM, ability-to-repay rules are out; CUNA provides summary.) Staatz thanked the CFPB for reaching out to credit unions as it developed the QM definition.

Credit unions also appreciate that the CFPB has expanded its coverage for "rural" and "underserved" areas, which will be beneficial to more consumers across the nation, he added.

Overall, CUNA and credit unions commend the CFPB's efforts and the agency's general appreciation of the work of credit unions, Staatz said, but drove home the CUNA warning about regulatory burden. "Credit unions provide affordable loans and competitive savings rates, and, as the only member-owned financial cooperatives in this country, want to ensure their members have access to reasonable information about their accounts." Regulatory burden impedes their ability to serve members, he noted.

The SECU president also said that his credit union's use of traditional member relationship lending practices has helped both members and SECU.

"It is critical that we maintain an excellent reputation in the community for serving members and that our lending practices are considered sound. If our members have marginal ability to repay, we work with them to help them improve their financial standing, not try and sell them a loan they can't afford," he said.

A second CFPB field hearing on mortgage policy is scheduled for Jan. 17 in Atlanta.

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