Removing Barriers Blog

In Anticipation of Today's Markup, Our Letter Supports Several Provisions of the Financial CHOICE Act
Posted September 13, 2016 by Chandler Schuette

In advance of today's markup on the Financial CHOICE Act, Chairman Hensarling's legislation to reform Dodd-Frank, we  submitted a letter to the Financial Services Committee. We support many of the regulatory reforms in the Act, although we do have a few concerns with a couple of proposals in the bill. 

The legislation weighs in at 513 pages, and includes several provisions that would help reduce the regulatory burdens credit unions currently face, and help mitigate future ones. We've had a lot of opportunity to influence this legislation, and many of the provisions have been discussed in testimony delivered by CUNA witnesses over the last few years. Our CEO Jim Nussle testified in support of Title I of the CHOICE Act back in July; this part of the bill would reduce regulatory burden for institutions with a leverage ratio above 10%.  We outlined our support and concerns with this package in a July letter we delivered during a meeting with Committee staff.

As a general observation, we note that the legislation as a whole appears to provide considerably more regulatory relief to banks, particularly the largest banks, than it does to credit unions. We believe much more should be done through this or similar legislation to modernize the federal credit union charter with a goal of reducing credit unions’ regulatory burden and expanding consumer and small business access to credit unions. We feel that a bill this large should have more space to tackle major improvements to the credit union charter.

We do however support provisions in the bill that would place the CFPB under the appropriations process and would create a five person commission to lead the Bureau. Other supported pieces in the bill include repeal of the Durbin Amendment that creates price controls on debit interchange fees, as well as housing regulatory relief and protection for financial institutions in reporting suspected elder financial abuse. However, we do not support provisions that would place the NCUA under the appropriations process and that would expand the lending powers of S&Ls.