Removing Barriers Blog

CUAC Members Ask CFPB for a “Breather”
Posted March 25, 2016 by Chandler Schuette

CUNA members serving on the CFPB’s Credit Union Advisory Council (CUAC) represented credit unions across the country this week. CUAC members participated in closed-door meetings with regulators throughout the day, and culminated the day with an open meeting where the group discussed elder financial abuse and the CFPB’s strategic outlook.

Director Richard Cordray provided opening remarks during the open session and participated in the discussions throughout the meeting. During the meeting, several issues outlined in the CFPB’s strategic outlook were discussed.

Credit unions remain concerned that including credit union products and services within policy makings following from the strategic outlook could add to the regulatory burdens that they already face.

In the discussions, several CUAC members questioned the CFPB about rulemakings that have, or could, impact credit union operations and members. For example, a CUAC member questioned whether the forthcoming arbitration rulemaking, which will likely result in more class action lawsuits, will actually benefit credit union members instead of the plaintiffs’ bar. We have expressed similar concerns to the CFPB.

Another member of the committee noted that any upcoming debt collection rules from the CFPB should allow credit unions to continue contacting their members about outstanding debts, noting there should be different considerations between those who actually cannot pay their debts, and those that simply don’t want to. The CUAC participants emphasized that communication with CU members is best for all involved, since credit unions have a history of working closely with their member owners to help them during times of financial distress. In the past, we have advocated that first-party creditors should be treated differently than third-party debt collectors.

One CUAC member said he had hoped the CFPB would give credit unions a “breather” to digest the existing rules affecting credit unions before beginning to work through the lengthy agenda encompassed in the strategic outlook. Credit unions continue to struggle to find the resources to implement the massive overhaul to rules in the mortgage market, as well as other recent policy-makings from the CFPB.

The meeting also included a discussion of elder financial abuse and efforts to protect senior credit union members and their families, an issue in which we have been actively participating. A bill recently introduced in the Senate by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), which is supported by CUNA, would provide legal immunity when reporting elder abuse. This bill would encourage more wide-scale reporting when fraud or abuse is suspected. Additionally, our Compliance Department also provides resources to help credit unions identify elder financial abuse.

As in the past, a recording of this meeting will be posted on the CFPB’s website in the coming weeks.