Removing Barriers Blog

Credit Unions Advocacy Efforts Payoff with House Appropriations Bill
Posted September 14, 2017 by CUNA Advocacy

Earlier today, the House in favor of H.R. 3354, an appropriations bill that contains several major victories for credit unions. The bill keeps NCUA out of the appropriations process, a provision the CUNA/League system advocated heavily for on Capitol Hill, and contains significant regulatory relief, including changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).   

Prior to today’s vote, CUNA sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi outlining CUNA’s position and urging their support for H.R. 3354. 

CUNA engaged heavily with leagues, credit unions and members to advocate for the adoption of the bipartisan Amodei-Aguilar amendment, and issued an action alert through its Grassroots Action Center for stakeholders to reach out to their legislators.   

CUNA-backed changes to the CFPB in the bill include:  

  • Removes the CFPB’s unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices authority;  

  • Places the CFPB under the appropriations process;  

  • Repeals the CFPB’s authority to write rules for arbitration;  

  • Repeals the CFPB’s Small Business Data Collection program;   

The bill also contains CUNA-supported provisions to provide community financial institution mortgage relief, and a safe harbor for certain loans held in portfolio.   

The bill also cuts the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund by $58 million from FY17 levels. However, this still leaves it funded at pre-recession levels.   

The many regulatory relief provisions in this bill, as well as the removal of language placing NCUA under appropriations, is a direct result of CUNA, the leagues, credit unions and members strongly advocating on behalf of 110 million credit union members. 

The bill’s report includes language that is helpful to credit unions as well.  It includes:
Regulation of Community Financial Institutions 
—The Committee remains concerned with Federal regulation of community banks and credit unions. The Committee requests each financial regulator to consider the risk profile and business model of a financial institution when the regulator engages in a regulatory action. In doing so, the regulator must determine the necessity, appropriateness, and impact of applying its regulatory action to an institution or class of institutions, and importantly, is directed to tailor its regulatory action in a manner that limits the regulatory compliance impact, cost, liability risk or other burdens as is appropriate for the risk profile and business model involved.  

Puerto Rico —Within 90 days of the date of enactment of this Act, the Department is directed to provide a report to the Committees on Appropriations of the House and Senate describing how the Department has used its authority to provide technical assistance to Puerto Rico in fiscal year 2017 and how it plans to use it in fiscal year 2018.  

Cybersecurity —The Committee recognizes the need to protect the financial services sector and its customers from the devastating effects of cyberattacks. While both industry and government have taken significant steps to mitigate this threat, there is more work to be done. The Committee encourages continued coordination to develop consistent and workable cybersecurity safeguards across the financial services sector. Consistent with this goal, the Committee directs the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Compliance Policy (OCIP) to report to the Committees on Appropriations of the House and Senate, the Committee on Financial Services of the House, and the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate within 60 days of enactment of this Act on the status of this collaboration and ways to improve cybersecurity controls and safeguards.  

Financial Literacy —The Committee believes financial literacy is important and that the Department can be helpful to entities, like universities, state and local educational agencies, qualified nonprofit agencies, and financial institutions who may want to establish centers of excellence to develop and implement effective standards, training and outreach efforts for financial literacy programs. The Committee encourages the Department to use the Financial Literacy and Education Commission to look into the feasibility of a program to make competitive grants to qualified institutions.