Removing Barriers Blog

Keeping member credit unions and leagues current on what and why we are doing for advocacy efforts including legislative, regulatory and state governmental affairs.
Posted March 31, 2020 by dyi

The NCUA announced that federally insured low-income credit unions can request loans or grants to assist communities experiencing hardship from COVID-19. $4 million in loans and $800,000 in grants are available.

Posted March 31, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA has sent two letters to the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell over the last two weeks asking for the Federal Reserve Board (“Board”) to eliminate Regulation D’s six convenient transfer limit for savings accounts. Credit unions have long believed that the six transfer limit is outdated, unnecessary and confusing to consumers.  Now with the shelter in place and stay home orders in place for many Americans  to help fight the spread of Covid-19, consumers more easily run afoul of the limit as they make transfers electronically, which count against the limit, instead of in-person, which does not count against the limit. 

Posted March 30, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA sent a letter to the Federal Reserve today regarding Regulation D Transfer and Withdrawal limits.

Posted March 30, 2020 by dyi

The NCUA Board voted to extend the comment call period on the proposed rule on combination transactions by 60 days

Posted March 30, 2020 by jbrunson

NCUA sent a letter to credit unions that stated all NCUA examinations will take place offsite through May 1, 2020

Posted March 30, 2020 by dyi

CUNA and other financial trade associations filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to request an expedited declaratory ruling, clarification, or waiver stating that phone calls and text messages placed by credit unions, banks, and other customer-facing financial services providers using an automatic telephone dialing system (autodialer) or prerecorded or artificial voice on matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic are “call[s] made for emergency purposes.”

Posted March 27, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

Through direct CUNA and League advocacy, credit unions will be able to better serve their members affected by the latest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) relief legislation. The bill, passed by the Senate late Wednesday and then the House on Friday afternoon, was amended to include credit unions in several provisions that, through drafting oversights, had previously only included banks and other lenders in provisions meant to support and protect consumer finances.

Posted March 27, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

The Dept. of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued more guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The law takes effect on April 1, 2020.  

The new guidance includes questions and answers addressing issues such as what documents employees can be required to submit to their employers to use paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave; whether workers can take paid sick leave intermittently while teleworking and whether workers whose employers closed before the effective date of the FFCRA can still get paid sick leave. 

This guidance follows other compliance assistance materials published by WHD over the last few days, including a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers, and an earlier Questions and Answers document. 

Posted March 27, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

The CFPB issued an RFI today to assist its Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law with determining recommendations on “harmonizing, modernizing, and updating the federal consumer financial laws.”

The Taskforce seeks public feedback to help identify areas of consumer protection on which it should focus its research and analysis during the balance of its one-year appointment.

Posted March 26, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

The Dept. of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) released additional guidance regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The law takes effect on April 1, 2020. 

The new guidance includes posters, one for federal workers and one for all other employees, that will fulfill notice requirements for employers obligated to inform employees about their rights under the new law. It also includes questions and answers about posting requirements, and a Field Assistance Bulletin describing WHD’s 30-day non-enforcement policy. 

Posted March 26, 2020 by jbrunson

Five federal financial regulators (FRB, CFPB, FDIC, NCUA, and OCC) issued a joint statement encouraging financial institutions to offer responsible small-dollar loans to consumers and small businesses in response to COVID-19. NCUA also issued a letter to credit unions on small-dollar lending. 

The agencies stated that such loans should be “offered in a manner that provides fair treatment of consumers, complies with applicable laws and regulations, and is consistent with safe and sound practices.” The statement follows other actions taken by the agencies to encourage financial institutions to meet the financial services needs of their customers and members who have been affected by COVID-19.  

Posted March 26, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), which includes NCUA and CFPB, are monitoring and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic to promote the ongoing ability of the nation’s financial institutions to support consumers.  

FFIEC members, who met on Tuesday, are actively discussing and identifying appropriate measures to maintain safety and soundness while protecting consumers. In a subsequent announcement, the FFEIC stated guidance will be provided to financial institutions on how to identify workers as essential critical infrastructure workers to ensure the security and resilience of the Nation’s critical infrastructure.

Posted March 26, 2020 by Chandler Schuette

The FDIC, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the agencies) will jointly host a webinar for bankers to raise awareness of the Interagency Statement on Loan Modifications and Reporting for Financial Institutions Working with Customers Affected by the Coronavirus. The webinar is scheduled for Friday, March 27, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

Statement of Applicability to Institutions with Total Assets under $1 Billion: This Financial Institution Letter (FIL) applies to all FDIC-supervised institutions.

Posted March 26, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

The Senate passed phase 3 of the stimulus legislation after many hours and days of negotiations.

CUNA and Leagues advocated on several issues in this bill. Credit union provisions in the bill include language on:  

  • Making credit unions eligible to participate in the paycheck protection program, which would allow for 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses that maintain their payroll.  
  • Reestablishing the Transaction Account Guarantee Program, in which the government guarantees certain noninterest-bearing transaction accounts.  
  • Including credit unions in troubled debt restructuring, allowing credit unions to further modify existing loans.  
  • Expanding NCUA's Central Liquidity Facility, which serves as a liquidity lender to credit unions experiencing unusual or unexpected liquidity shortfalls.  
  • Including credit unions in a current expected credit loss (CECL) delay for those entities currently required to comply with CECL. 

Posted March 25, 2020 by dyi

The NCUA Board issued a proposal to adopt new Subpart D of Part 708a intended to clarify and make transparent the procedures and requirements related to combination transactions.

Posted March 25, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

The Dept. of Labor (DOL) announced its first round of published guidance to provide information to employees and employers regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The law takes effect on April 1, 2020. 

The FFCRA was passed by Congress in response to the COVID-19 crises and provides businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. 

The guidance – provided in a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers and a Questions and Answers document – addresses several common questions, such as how an employer must count the number of their employees to determine coverage; how small businesses can obtain an exemption; how to count hours for part-time employees; and how to calculate the wages employees are entitled to under this law. A workplace poster required for most employers will be published later this week, along with additional fact sheets and more Q&A. 

Posted March 24, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

The U.S. Dept. of Labor (DOL) is hosting an online dialogue to provide employers and employees the opportunity to offer feedback as the DOL develops compliance materials related to the implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). 

The stakeholder feedback gathered will inform compliance assistance guidance, resources, and tools, as well as the adoption of outreach strategies to assist employers and employees understand their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA. 

Posted March 24, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

The CFPB has released several resources over the past week to help consumers take steps to protect their finances during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Bureau has been regularly updating its content to meet the needs of consumers. 

Credit unions and consumers can monitor the CFPB’s blog for the latest updates. 

Posted March 24, 2020 by dyi

CUNA wrote a letter to the National Credit Union Administration with a few recommendations they can take to reduce regulatory burden on credit unions as COVID-19 continues to affect communities and credit union members. 

Posted March 23, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

In a series of announcements on Monday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) detailed three initiatives intended to assist individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and facilitate liquidity in the mortgage market.

Posted March 23, 2020 by Chandler Schuette

On March 22, Secretary Steven Mnuchin released a memo identifying financial services as a critical infrastructure sector by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

On March 19, Director Christopher Krebs of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released a memo re: identification of essential critical infrastructure workers during COVID-19 response.

Posted March 23, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

FHFA announced two actions aimed at facilitating liquidity in the mortgage market during the COVID-19 national emergency. In the first, FHFA directed Fannie and Freddie to permit alternative flexibilities to satisfy appraisal requirements and employment verification requirements through May 17, 2020.​ In the second, FHFA authorized the Enterprises to enter into additional dollar roll transactions.

Posted March 23, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

The state and federal financial regulators, including NCUA and CFPB, issued an interagency statement encouraging financial institutions to work with borrowers affected by COVID-19 and providing additional information regarding loan modifications. The statement asserts that the regulators will not criticize institutions for working with borrowers in a safe and sound manner and will not direct supervised institutions to automatically categorize loan modifications as troubled debt restructurings (TDRs).  The joint statement also outlines supervisory views on past-due and nonaccrual regulatory reporting of loan modification programs.

Posted March 20, 2020 by jbrunson

FHFA Director Mark Calabria issued a statement encouraging distressed borrowers to reach out to their servicers if they are experiencing hardships related to COVID-19. The agency also announced that the Enterprises would provide payment forbearance to borrowers impacted by the coronavirus. Forbearance allows for a mortgage payment to be suspended for up to 12 months due to hardship caused by the coronavirus. 

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae issued releases on consumer’s forbearance options, available h

Posted March 20, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

The CFPB released its annual report to Congress on the administration of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The report highlights the efforts by the Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to stop unlawful debt collection practices, including law enforcement activities, consumer education, public outreach, and policy initiatives.  

In a separate action, the Bureau announced an extension to the comment period on its Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) proposing to require FDCPA-covered debt collectors to make certain disclosures when collecting time-barred debts. The extension pushes back the closing of the comment period to June 5, 2020. 

Posted March 18, 2020 by dyi

CUNA sent a letter to FASB urging it to delay the effective date of the CECL standard until at least January 2024.

Posted March 18, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to all 535 Congressional offices to let them know that as communities across the country grapple with effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, America's credit unions will continue to be here. 

Posted March 18, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA joined other financial trades in sending a letter responding to  Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Doug Jones (D-AL).  CUNA and the other organizations wrote to encourage prudent and appropriate actions to assist consumers.

As Congress and the Administration respond to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis, credit unions and banks will continue to offer assistance to customers directly affected.

Posted March 18, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to the President about the statutory and regulatory accommodations needed to ensure credit unions can continue to meet the financial services needs of their members impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Credit unions are open for business and serving their members. Their top priority right now is keeping their members, volunteers and employees safe and healthy, and remaining in a position to serve members and the community during and after the crisis,” the letter reads. “More than 2,100 credit unions, serving nearly 46 million members, have a primary field of membership that includes schools, military, health care, police, fire, transportation, utilities and government employees. These credit unions and others are serving members who are on the front lines of helping to keep others safe during this crisis. Of course, since this crisis will impact everyone, every credit union will be impacted.”

Posted March 17, 2020 by jbrunson

FinCEN issued a statement on March 16, 2020 requesting financial institutions affected by COVID-19 contact FinCEN and their functional regulator as soon as practicable if there is a concern about any potential delays in its ability to file required Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reports.  

Institutions should call FinCEN's Regulatory Support Section (RSS) for assistance at 1-800-949-2732 or e-mail at FinCEN's RSS will continue to be available to support financial institutions for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency encouraged financial institutions to keep FinCEN and their functional regulators informed as their circumstances change.

Posted March 17, 2020 by dyi

A submitted two letters (including a joint trades letter) to the FHFA in response to its Request for Information on PACE programs.

Posted March 12, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

 CUNA recommended the CFPB quickly finalize its proposal amending the Remittance Rule and exercise its authority to permit compliance flexibility for remittances sent to individuals in countries affected by the growing public health concern surrounding coronavirus disease.

Posted March 12, 2020 by jbrunson

CUNA sent a letter to NCUA asking it to consider several steps to alleviate the financial strain and consumer disruption being caused by the coronavirus.

While we appreciate the statement issued earlier this week by the NCUA and other federal financial regulators encouraging financial institutions to meet the financial needs of customers and members affected by the coronavirus, we offer several specific areas where the NCUA can ease the challenges facing credit unions during this time.

Posted March 11, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

Late yesterday, March 10, the CFPB announced it will be cancelling the Spring 2020 meetings of its stakeholder advisory groups, including the Credit Union Advisory Council (CUAC). The meetings were scheduled to take place over a 2-day period on March 11-12. 

The cancellation was due to travel restrictions resulting from the public health concerns related to coronavirus. The CFPB has not announced a plan to reschedule at this time. 

CUNA will inform members when more details are announced. 

Posted March 10, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

Director Kraninger was before the Senate Banking Committee earlier today.  Prior to her testimony, CUNA wrote to Chairman Carpo and Ranking Member Brown outlining a number of steps the Bureau could take and reiterated support for a bipartisan, multimember commission to lead the CFPB. The CFPB's execution of its regulatory agenda should ensure credit unions are able to provide efficient, safe and affordable products and services.

“America’s credit unions value the CFPB's mission, ‘to make consumer financial markets work for consumers, responsible providers, and the economy as a whole.’ Unfortunately, credit unions’ ability to provide their members with high-quality and consumer-friendly financial products and services has been significantly impeded by several rules promulgated under past leadership,” the letter reads. “As mentioned above, the CFPB's overly broad approach to rulemaking resulted in burdensome regulatory requirements being imposed on credit unions based on the mistakes and irresponsible practices of other industry stakeholders.”

Posted March 10, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA filed comments with the FCC regarding fees and other issues related to the reassigned number database

Posted March 09, 2020 by Chandler Schuette

As a result of the COVID-19 disease outbreak and its potential impact on the financial sector, FS-ISAC, the American Bankers Association (ABA), the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) are co-sponsoring a webinar-based exercise on 12 March 2020 from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm EDT.

The goal of this exercise is to give institutions an opportunity to practice and adapt their technology and cybersecurity resiliency plans for large-scale, work-from-home scenarios in the event they are quickly needed. We are calling this a “Sprint Exercise” because the time duration (2 hours) is relatively short and the agenda is highly focused. FS-ISAC and SIFMA have been operating in a “split operations/work-from-home” mode in our respective Singapore offices for many weeks and we will draw on our own experiences, as well as best practices derived from past pandemic exercises and our members’ current best practices.

This webinar is a learning opportunity designed to help institutions globally both critically examine and virtually exercise their incident/pandemic response plans, as well as share their own best practices. This includes providing unique, sector-specific perspectives only accessible here, as some attendees will have directly relevant experiences to share.

Posted March 09, 2020 by jbrunson

Register now for the March 11 webinar, “Financial Inclusion: Pathways to Serving the Underserved,” hosted by NCUA’s Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion. The webinar begins at 2 p.m. 

Credit unions can get valuable insights into serving low-income and underserved communities. Representatives from the NCUA and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will discuss:

  • Current landscape of financial inclusion in the US;
  • Barriers and challenges to low-income populations for financial inclusion; and
  • Innovations in financial inclusion.

Posted March 08, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

The House is expected to vote on S.J. Res. 68, a resolution “to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran that have not been authorized by Congress.”  The House may also vote on legislation to extend expiring provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and on legislation to undo President Trump’s travel ban. 

The Senate will continue consideration of S. 2657, the “The American Energy Innovation Act.” 

Posted March 06, 2020 by Chandler Schuette

The CFPB is hosting two events next week:

Debt Relief Convening

On March 10, the CFPB will host a day-long convening on “Evolutions in Consumer Debt Relief.” The event will explore options for consumers facing unmanageable unsecured debt and limited credit options. Panelists include representation from creditors, consumer advocates, and bankruptcy experts, as well as providers of debt settlement, debt management, and credit counseling services.

Spring 2020 CFPB Advisory Committee Meetings

On March 11 and 12, the CFPB will host its Spring 2020 meeting of the advisory committees, including the Credit Union Advisory Committee, to discuss broad policy matters related to the Bureau’s Unified Regulatory Agenda and general scope of authority.

Posted March 06, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

The CFPB announced new or revised initiatives intended to advance its mission to prevent consumer harm:

  • Implementing an advisory opinion program to provide clear guidance to assist regulated entities in better understanding their legal and regulatory obligations;
  • Amending its responsible business conduct bulletin; and
  • Recommending Congress enact legislation to permit the CFPB to create a whistleblower award program.

Posted March 05, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

This afternoon, CUNA wrote to all 535 Congressional offices to highlight the importance of data security and privacy legislation.  Unfortunately, scammers are exploiting fears over the coronavirus and are targeting financial and personal data.  It's time for  data security and privacy legislation ! Did you see

Posted March 05, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

Congressan Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) and the Republican members of the House Financial Services Committee introduced a bill that would replace the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) single director with a bipartisan commission. CUNA has advocated for years on behalf of a commission leading the CFPB, and strongly supports the bill.

Posted March 03, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Last December, CUNA filed an amicus brief arguing that a multi-member commission established by the political branches is the best remedy to cure the CFPB’s constitutional defects while preserving the consumer protection benefits of the agency. 

During the arguments, the Supreme Court heard from counsels for Seila Law LLC, the CFPB, and a special amicus curiae appointed by the Court to defend the CFPB’s constitutionality.  The Court also heard from a counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives, which filed a “friend of the court” brief in the case. 

Posted March 04, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced a CUNA-supported legislation that would raise federal credit union loan maturity limits on non-mortgage loans from 15 to 20 years, the Expanding Access to Lending Options Act. CUNA wrote a letter of support of Scott and Cortez Masto on the day the legislation was introduced.

CUNA, along with the Carolinas Credit Union League and the Nevada Credit Union League, directly engaged with legislators on the importance of this bill. Senator Scott announced the bill during last week's CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) during a meeting with the Carolinas Credit Union League. 

Posted March 04, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to the House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) in support of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund and NCUA’s Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF). The CDFI and CDRLF are two important funds that help credit unions advance underserved communities.

The CDFI Fund makes capital grants, equity investments and awards for technical assistance to CDFIs for community development initiatives such as small businesses, community facilities, and low-income housing.

CDFIs such as Community Development Credit Unions (CDCUs) are charged with supplying low-income, distressed communities with traditional banking services such as savings accounts and personal loans, and offering individuals the tools needed to become self-sufficient stakeholders in their own future.

Posted March 02, 2020 by CUNA Advocacy

This week, the House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 1140, the “Rights for Transportation Security Officers Act of 2020.” 

The Senate will consider S. 2657, the “American Energy Innovation Act (AEIA).”