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 April 28, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA's Chief Advocacy Officer wrote to all 535 Members of Congress to remind them that Congress charged credit unions with “promoting thrift … [and providing] credit for provident or productive purposes,” in 1934 and credit unions continue to fulfill this mission today.

The email also included a link to the CUNA-League 2021 Advocacy Agenda, which details how credit unions improve financial well-being for all and advance the communities they serve, and how Congress can help them go even further.

Posted April 28, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA and several other financial trade associations filed joint comments in response to two Petitions regarding the FCC’s December 2020 Report and Order on TCPA exemptions. The Petitions were filed by the Enterprise Communications Advocacy Coalition and a group led by ACA International. Both Petitions address multiple issues related to the Report and Order, including that the FCC needs to issue an Erratum to correct the drafting error which inadvertently raised the level of consent for certain calls. CUNA has been urging the FCC to issue the Erratum since the error was first discovered in January, and these comments continue that push.

Posted April 28, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The CFPB has finalized its proposal to delay the mandatory compliance date of the General Qualified Mortgage(QM) final rule – moving the deadline from July 1, 2021 until October 1, 2022. The delay becomes operative on June 30, 2021. In the final rule, the Bureau recognized that the practical significance of the delay is ultimately questionable due to the Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement (PSPA) issued by Treasury in January and the subsequent policies issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac earlier this month. The PSPA and policies require sellers of loans to Fannie and Freddie to implement the General QM final rule by July 1, 2021 and currently makes no accommodations for delay. On April 22, CUNA wrote to Treasury highlighting this conflict and asking that Treasury resolve it by amending the PSPA to accommodate the delay. CUNA will continue to bring these concerns to Treasury so that credit unions and their members can enjoy the flexibilities offered by the Bureau’s finalized delay.

 

Posted April 28, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to the Senate Banking Committee prior to their hearing “The Reemergence of Rent-a-Bank?”  CUNA believes the committee should examine the legal framework and regulatory scope governing the oversight of traditional banks and other commercial businesses that are engaged in financial activity.

“Credit unions are concerned that non-regulated companies are engaged in financial activities through partnerships with regulated financial institutions allowing them to offer products and services that are traditionally offered by credit unions and banks, but without the regulatory safeguards that these non-financial service companies would be subject to if they were a financial institution,” the letter reads. “These so called ‘rent-a-bank relationships’ allow non-bank providers to operate under the cloak of a regulated entity will avoid regulations that would normally be in place, often from the state level, for the products and services they offer.”

Posted April 25, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The House of Representatives will not consider any legislation before the full body. Instead, House Committees will meet to conduct business. The Senate will consider several executive branch nominations.

Posted April 22, 2021 by jbrunson

The 11th Circuit issued an opinion in Hunstein v. Preferred Collection and Management Services Inc. holding that an alleged violation of the third-party disclosure provision under 15 U.S.C. Section 1692c(b) results in an alleged concrete injury under Article III of the U.S. Constitution. The Court seems to come to this decision despite the absence of actual or tangible harm. In addition, the court concluded that the mere transmission of a consumer’s personal information to a letter vendor constituted an alleged violation of the third-party disclosure prohibition in 1692(c)b.

CUNA is concerned about the impact this decision may have on credit unions that use third-party vendors to produce collections-related communications. 

Posted April 22, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen detailing a conflict between the CFPB’s recent proposed delay of the mandatory compliance date for the General QM Final Rule until October 1, 2022 and with policy changes issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac this month which would require implementation of the final rule by July 1, 2021. 

Posted April 22, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The Board was briefed on an interim final rule adopted last week by notation vote, at which time the rule became effective. The rule is substantially similar to a rule adopted last year that expired at the end of 2020. The rule makes the following temporary changes to its PCA regulations to help credit unions remain operational and liquid during the COVID–19 pandemic:

  1. It allows the Board to waive the earnings-retention requirement for adequately capitalized credit unions.
  2. It allows undercapitalized credit unions to submit a streamlined net worth restoration plans if the credit union’s reduction in capital was caused by temporary share growth associated with the pandemic.

These temporary modifications will be in place until March 31, 2022.

The agency is accepting comments on the rule until June 18.

As detailed in a recent Removing Barriers Blog post, we have been pushing the NCUA to adopt the temporary changes included in this interim final rule. We appreciate the Board pursuing these changes aimed at PCA flexibility, which we sought in a joint CUNA/AACUL letter sent to the Board last month.

Posted April 21, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The FHFA has announced that some COVID-related lending flexibilities set to expire on April 30, 2021 have been extended through May 31, 2021. Extended flexibilities include alternative appraisals on purchase and rate-term refinance loans. The FHFA also stated that this extension will likely be the final one. Flexibilities related to employment verification, condominium project reviews, and expanded powers of attorney will be allowed to expire on April 30, 2021. The FHFA stated that these flexibilities have had low usage, which is prompting it to allow them to expire. 

Posted April 20, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

letter was sent to the House Financial Services Committee prior to the start of the Committee's markup with concerns over provisions in a debt collection bill. Language in the Comprehensive Debt Collection Improvement Act (H.R. 2547) would prohibit medical debt to be included in credit reporting.

Posted April 20, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to the Senate Banking Committee prior to the hearing on investing in rural communities, which also featured testimony from Bill Bynum, president/CEO of Hope CU, Jackson, MS.  Allowing credit unions to expand into rural communities and other underserved areas would advance communities throughout the nation.

"One of the most important things that Congress could do is empower rural communities through financial inclusion. That means ensuring that federal law permits all federal credit unions to serve rural communities, banking deserts, and all underserved areas,” the letter reads. “Given the unprecedented economic disruption caused by COVID-19, it is important now more than ever that rural communities have access to a trusted, local financial partner. Credit unions are eager to be that partner, but archaic charter and field of membership restrictions prevent most from expanding more broadly to help those who are most in need."

Posted April 20, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to the House Small Business Committee for its hearing on SBA pandemic response programs. The Small Business Administration should work to provide certainty for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness applications.  End-of-year appropriations legislation in December contained CUNA-supported forg

Posted April 19, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The House passed the CUNA-supported Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act Monday in a bipartisan 321-101 vote. The bill would provide protections to financial institutions that serve state legal cannabis-based businesses. Prior to the vote, CUNA wrote to Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy in support of the SAFE Banking Act.

“This historic, bipartisan legislation will address a public safety issue facing consumers, businesses, and financial institutions around the country,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “We appreciate the House passing this bill and urge the Senate will move forward in similar fashion. We will continue to engage with them going forward to get this bill across the finish line.”

Posted April 19, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The CFPB issued an FDCPA interim final rule (IFR) related to the CDC’s eviction moratorium. The CDC has established the eviction moratorium to protect the public health and reduce the spread of the virus.

The interim final rule requires debt collectors to provide written notice to tenants of their rights under the CDC’s eviction moratorium and prohibits debt collectors from misrepresenting tenants’ eligibility for protection from eviction under the moratorium.

Posted April 19, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy
On Monday, CUNA filed a letter with the FHFA in response to a Request for Information regarding how it should assess and manage climate change and natural disaster risk to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks.
Posted April 19, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The Federal Reserve has extended the deadline for responding to the 2021 CDFI Survey until Friday, May 14. The Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Federal Reserve Banks and the CDFI Fund intend to use the survey data to inform research and future policy making. The survey data will also provide important benchmark information on how CDFIs are faring in the COVID-19 crisis and how they are serving low-income and minority populations. To participate, access the survey here.

Posted April 18, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The House of Representatives will consider H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act; H.R. 1333, the NO BAN Act; and H.R. 1573, the Access to Counsel Act of 2021. The following bills will be considered under suspension of the rules:

  • H.R. 1532 – Improving FHA Support for Small Dollar Mortgages Act of 2021
  • H.R. 1491 – Fair Debt Collection for Servicemembers Act 
  • H.R. 1395 – Housing Financial Literacy Act of 2021 
  • H.R. 1565 – Senior Security Act 
  • H.R. 1528 – Promoting Transparent Standards for Corporate Insiders Act 
  • H.R. 1996 – SAFE Banking Act of 2021 
  • H.R. 1602 – Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Act of 2021 

The Senate will consider S. 937, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act.

Posted April 16, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The NCUA board will be briefed on an interim rule involving Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) at its April 22 meeting. CUNA and Leagues have heavily engaged NCUA on the need for PCA flexibility, and NCUA Chairman Harper indicated relief would be coming shortly.

The meeting will be conducted via live audio stream starting at 10 a.m. (ET), and the stream will be available at NCUA.gov.

The complete April 22 agenda is:

  • Board briefing, cybersecurity update.
  • Board briefing, interim final rule, Part 702, Capital Adequacy; Prompt Corrective Action.

Posted April 16, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy
A letter was sent to Chairman Perlmutter and Ranking Member Luetkemeyer prior to the Subcommittee's hearing entitled, "Banking Innovation or Regulatory Evasion? Exploring Trends in Financial Institution Charters."  Credit unions have concerns about the lack of protections involving non regulated entities
Posted April 14, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Public Notice seeking input on call blocking in order to produce its second staff report to Congress on the topic. Among other matters, the FCC asks about the efficacy of call blocking, the rate of false positives (blocking good calls), and experience with remedial efforts to get calls unblocked.  It is looking for information covering the last year. Submissions to the FCC are due April 30. If your credit union has had experience with having its calls blocked, please reach out to Elizabeth LaBerge

Posted April 13, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to the Senate Banking Committee in support of bipartisan legislation extending the loan maturity limit for federal credit unions would help more credit unions enter the student lending sector.  The Committee held a hearing to discuss the Student Debt Burden and Its Impact on Racial Justice, Borrowers, and The Economy.

“Total student loan debt in the United States has reached $1.7 trillion and is now the second largest factor of household, with the average graduate saddled with over $37,000. Yet, a recent study found that hiring for entry-level college graduate positions has fallen 45%, the letter reads. “While most student loans originate with the government, more and more credit unions are finding ways to support student borrowers through private loans.

Posted April 13, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA called on the House Appropriations Committee to ensure increased funding for U.S. Agency for International Development’s Cooperative Development Program (CDP) in FY2022. The CDP is a global initiative administered by the that focuses on building capacity of cooperative businesses and cooperative systems. It was funded at $18.5 million last year, and CUNA has called for it to be raised to $20 million.

Posted April 12, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

On April 12, FinCEN, the NCUA, Federal Reserve Board, OCC, and FDIC, issued a Request for Information (RFI) on the extent to which the principles of the Interagency Model Risk Management Guidance (MRMG) support compliance with BSA/AML and OFAC requirements. The MRMG lays out three principles for modeling: (1) model development, implementation, and use; (2) model validation, and (3) governance, policies and control. The agencies want to understand the role of this guidance in compliance practices and whether additional guidance might increase transparency, effectiveness or efficiency.

Posted April 11, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The House of Representatives will consider H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act and H.R. 1195, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act.

The Senate will consider the nomination of Polly Ellen Trottenberg to be Deputy Secretary of Transportation.

Posted April 09, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The CFPB issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to delay by 60 days the effective date of two final rules issued under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

The debt collection rules are currently scheduled to take effect on November 30, 2021.  If the proposal is finalized, the effective date of both rules would change to January 29, 2022.

The first debt collection rule, issued in October 2020, focuses on the use of communications related to debt collection, and clarifies prohibitions on harassment and abuse, false or misleading representations, and unfair practices by debt collectors when collecting consumer debt.

The second debt collection rule, issued in December 2020, clarifies disclosures debt collectors must provide to consumers at the beginning of collection communications.

The Bureau’s proposal will be open for comment for 30 days following publication in the Federal Register.

Posted April 09, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA's Chief Advocacy Officer wrote to all 535 Members of Congress highlighting why it’s more important than ever that communities retain access to a local financial partner that can meet their needs.

Posted April 08, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

For the last 13 months, CUNA/League advocacy has been focused on ensuring that policy supported credit union member service during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, and we saw success in many areas including provisions related to troubled debt restructuring, expanded CLF authorities, and authorizing credit unions to lend through the Paycheck Protection Program.  These efforts garnered a great deal of the headline exposure over the last year, and they have had significant impact on credit unions’ ability to improve their members financial well-being during this unprecedented crisis. 

But there were several efforts which didn’t get as much attention, like the work CUNA and the Leagues have done together, largely behind the scenes, to encourage NCUA to provide flexibility for credit unions impacted by pandemic related growth. 

Posted April 07, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The Bureau published a proposed rule that would make significant amendments to Regulation X in connection with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. First, the proposal would institute a foreclosure moratorium preventing any mortgage servicer from referring a delinquent mortgage on a borrower’s primary residence for foreclosure until after December 31, 2021. Second, the proposal would allow credit unions to offer certain streamlined modifications based on an incomplete loss mitigation application, such as the streamlined modifications currently permitted by the GSEs. Finally, the proposal makes changes to the live contact and the due diligence provisions intended to help borrowers rolling off of forbearance get information about their options. The Bureau is hoping the rule would take effect on or before August 31, 2021. 

It is important to note that while the proposal has not been published in the Federal Register yet, it does have a deadline for comment; May 10, 2021. CUNA will be filing comments and if you have thoughts to share, please reach out to Elizabeth LaBerge at elaberge@cuna.coop

Posted April 07, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

FinCEN has published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) seeking feedback on the implementation of the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA). The CTA was part of the National Defense Authority Act (NDAA) signed into law on January 1, 2021. The CTA requires certain business entities to submit their beneficial owner information directly to FinCEN, which is then authorized to disclose that beneficial ownership information to financial institutions attempting to comply with their BSA/AML customer due diligence (CDD) requirements.

Posted April 06, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

This week we wrote to Representatives Tom Emmer and Ed Perlmutter in support of their recently introduced legislation that would modernize the Federal Credit Union Act to allow a credit union board to expel a member for just cause, the Credit Union Governance Modernization Act. The bill updates the credit union member expulsion process while ensuring a fair procedure for reinstatement.

Posted April 05, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA filed a comment letter with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in response to their  proposal  to delay the mandatory compliance deadline related to the General Qualified Mortgage(QM)  Final Rule  issued last December. The letter states “Neither credit unions nor their members will suffer from tempor

Posted April 02, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

Five federal financial regulatory agencies are gathering insight on financial institutions' use of artificial intelligence (AI). The agencies seek information from the public on how financial institutions use AI in their activities, including fraud prevention, personalization of customer services, credit underwriting, and other operations.

Posted April 01, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The Supreme Court issued an Opinion in Facebook v. Duguid adopting a more narrow definition of an “automatic telephone dialing system” in the TCPA as urged by CUNA in its amicus brief. The Court stated that adopting the broad definition sought by Duguid would mean nearly all cell phones are autodialers subject to TCPA limitations. This decision is a victory for credit unions and for clarity and fairness in the application of the TCPA.

Posted April 01, 2021 by CUNA Advocacy

The CFPB announced its rescinding seven policy statements issued last year that provided temporary flexibilities to financial institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bureau is also rescinding its 2018 bulletin on supervisory communications and replacing it with a revised bulletin describing its use of matters requiring attention (MRAs) to effectively convey supervisory expectations.