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 June 28, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The Senate passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020 with CUNA-opposed language expanding certain waivers for rent and other facilities costs for financial institutions on military installations currently granted to credit unions. The House version of the NDAA, which passed committee earlier this month, does not contain such language.

Posted June 27, 2019 by jbrunson

CUNA submitted its comment letter on the CFPB’s remittance request for information, which the CFPB issued in April following months of meetings in which CUNA raised the issue with CFPB leaders and staff.  The letter states that substantive amendments to the remittance rule would create a more effective balance between consumer protection and access to services. 

“We appreciate the Bureau engaging in its current effort to consider potential revisions to the remittance rule and support the current leadership in its goal to issue right-sized regulations after soliciting meaningful stakeholder feedback,” the letter reads. “While CUNA supports appropriate safeguards for consumers initiating remittance transfers, including clear and understandable disclosures, the Bureau should propose and finalize substantive amendments to the Remittance Rule to better balance necessary consumer protections with a more tailored regulation that allows consumers to access desired products and services.”

Posted June 27, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The CFPB announced that it is extending until October 15, 2019, the comment period on the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) related to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data points. Comments were previously due on July 8, 2019.

According to its release, the Bureau’s extension is intended “to give interested parties an opportunity to review the Bureau’s annual overview of residential mortgage lending based on the HMDA data financial institutions collected in 2018.”  The ANPR, issued on May 2, 2019, solicits comment on certain data points in the Bureau’s October 2015 final rule that were added to Regulation C or revised to require additional information.

Posted June 26, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The House passed the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2020 today. CUNA wrote in strong support of the bill earlier this week due to the appropriations amounts for several credit union funds, including the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund and NCUA’s Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF).

“We thank the House for passing the bill, and for the attention of House appropriators to ensure appropriate levels for several important funds that credit unions are able to leverage to better serve their members and communities,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle.

Posted June 26, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The CFPB hosted the first of a planned series of symposia focused on topics in consumer financial protection.  The symposium focused on defining “abusive” under Title X of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  Representatives from CUNA and the Maryland & DC Credit Union Association were in attendance.  

The symposia featured remarks from Director Kathy Kraninger and Deputy Director Brian Johnson, as well as comments from legal and academic experts. In general, the conversation focused on the statutory history of “abusive”, the role of cost-benefit analysis, and whether behavioral economics can play a role in determining abusive behavior. 

Posted June 25, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to Chairman Lynch & Ranking Member Hill prior to the House Financial Services Task Force on Financial Technology’s hearing on “Overseeing the Fintech Revolution: Domestic and International Perspectives on Fintech Regulation.”  The letter discusses how technology has improved consumer access to financial services, but certain new financial technologies, or fintech, does not have the regulatory structure in place that exists with credit unions and other financial institutions.

Posted June 25, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

Prior to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee markup of H.R. 3375, the "Stopping Bad Robocalls Act," CUNA wrote to Chairman Doyle and Ranking Member Latta expressing concerns with the legislation but also applauding the bipartisan efforts from Congress to address robocalls and the Federal Communication Commission’s treatment of them.

“We applaud the bipartisan effort that produced H.R. 3375, and we appreciate the recognition that the FCC should move quickly to clarify the definition of an autodialer. This provision will help facilitate credit unions’ and other legitimate businesses’ compliance with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).”

“We continue to encourage the FCC narrowly tailor the definition of an autodialer to target illegal automated calls, rather than preventing legitimate actors from broadly using any form of automated telephonic communication with consumers. Nevertheless, we still have concerns with the legislation in its current form.”

Posted June 25, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA called on Senate leadership to reject inclusion of any language in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020 that would expand the Department of Defense’s (DoD) authority to exempt financial institutions from certain costs on military installations. The current Senate version contains such language, while CUNA, leagues and the Defense Credit Union Council successfully blocked language in the House NDAA that would have broadened the exemption.

As the only member-owned, not-for-profit, democratically controlled option in financial services, credit unions' mission is to promote thrift and provide access to credit for members. It is a mission they have fulfilled for more than 70 years and it’s a mission that remains unchanged today. Credit unions are focused on ensuring the financial readiness of our service members and their families.

Posted June 24, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA sent a comment letter on NCUA’s advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) regarding compensation in connection with loans and lines of credit to members.

We support the overall intent of the regulation, which is generally to appropriately limit undue risk to credit unions regarding lending. However, to remain competitive with our banking counterparts, we believe changes to the regulation allowing additional compensation to senior executives is appropriate, so long as there is an appropriate balance that incorporates sufficient risk management.

Posted June 24, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

This Tuesday, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will markup H.R. 3375, the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act. This legislation was initially introduced as H.R. 946 earlier this year and CUNA—along with its league and industry partners — has worked with the majority and minority to improve it. There may be opportunities to make additional technical changes if credit unions discuss their outstanding concerns with Energy and Commerce Committee members during recess. 

We can positively report that, through continued engagement with the Subcommittee on a bipartisan basis, the current bill requires the Federal Communications Commission to, once and for all, resolve the dispute between the varying judicial circuits on the definition of an “autodialer” by providing that definition within six months of the enactment of the law. As many of you already know, CUNA previously petitioned the FCC—on behalf of our credit union members--regarding the circuit court’s split on definitional language and, to date, has not received any formal response. The bipartisan bill’s admonishment that the Commission must provide that definition sooner, rather than later, is a definite victory for the concerns that you have raised. 

Posted June 23, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

This week, the House will complete consideration of H.R. 3055, the Commerce, Justice, Science, Agriculture, Interior, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act of FY 2020.  In addition, the House will consider H.R. 3351, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of FY 2020 as well as H.R. 2722, the Securing America's Federal Elections Act.  Finally, H.R. 3401, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act may also be voted on.

The Senate is expected to consider S. 1790, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019.  In addition, the Senate may vote on a bill to provide supplemental appropriations for the U.S. southern 

Posted June 20, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy
During the two-hour meeting, the NCUA Board raised a range of issues for and against delaying the effective date of the risk-based capital (RBC) rule.

Posted June 20, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

Today, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals scheduled oral arguments for two ADA website accessibility cases involving two Michigan credit unions.

Posted June 18, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CFPB Ombudsman’s Office hosted a small business forum today in Chicago, IL.  The Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) attended the forum and provided recommendations on improving the Bureau’s processes.

Posted June 16, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

This week, the House will continue consideration of the Defense, Labor-HHS-Educations, State and Foreign Operations, Energy and Water, and Legislative Branch funding bill.  The House may also consider H.R. 3055, the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2020 [Commerce, Justice, Science, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act, 2020]. 

The Senate may consider S. 1790, “The National Defense Authorization Act.”  The Senate is also expected to consider a number of judicial nominations.

Posted June 13, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The House Armed Services Committee passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020 very early this morning. While an amendment was offered that would have extended to banks the same rent-free access to land and facilities that credit unions have been granted due to their not-for-profit, member-owned mission and structure, CUNA, the Leagues, and the Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC) were successful in working with Representatives to ensure such language was kept out of the final bill. 

“We’re pleased that Chairman Smith (D-WS), Ranking Member Thornberry (R-TX), and the rest of the House Armed Services Committee recognized the inherent differences between the credit union mission and structure and the profit-driven model that banks operate under,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “We look forward to this bill passing the House, and we’ll continue engagement with the Senate to preserve credit unions’ ability to continue their service to American servicemembers and their families.”

Posted June 12, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

Prior to the Senate Commerce Committee oversight hearing on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), CUNA wrote to Chairman Wicker and Ranking Member Cantwell.  In the letter, CUNA said it was imperative that the Committee devote some attention to the Commission’s recent efforts relating to call-blocking services of robocalls.

The Senate Commerce Committee should press the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on what actions and rulemakings, if any, the agency will undertake to ensure legally permissible calls aren’t impacted by last week’s call-blocking ruling.

Posted June 13, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote in support of the Comprehensive Regulatory Review Act (H.R. 3198) Wednesday, a bill introduced by Representatives Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ).

CUNA supports the Comprehensive Regulatory Review Act, which would amend the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996 (EGRPRA) to require the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council and federal financial regulators, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and NCUA, to review all existing regulations once every seven years.

Posted June 12, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA submitted comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) and its mortgage reporting thresholds. The CFPB proposed increasing the HMDA reporting thresholds for closed-end mortgages to 50 or 100 loans (up from the current 25) and extending the current temporary thresholds of 500 open-end lines of credit until January 1, 2022.

While CUNA believes the proposal is “step in the right direction,” CUNA recommends the CFPB go further in its regulatory relief.

Based on CUNA’s analysis, the CFPB’s current proposal would provide HMDA relief to over 750 credit unions. The CUNA-recommended threshold of 500 closed-end mortgage loans would reduce the regulatory costs associated with HMDA compliance for over 1,500 credit unions.

Posted June 12, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote in support of four regulatory relief bills that were marked up by the House Financial Services Committee this week. The bills covered Bank Secrecy Act, flood insurance and financial literacy act.  All four CUNA-supported pieces of legislation passed the Committee.

H.R. 2513, The Corporate Transparency Act of 2019, which would address the redundancies, unnecessary burdens, and opportunities for efficiencies within the Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) statutory framework. CUNA notes that regulatory regimes like BSA should be a scalable framework to help smaller institution [Passed 43-16]

H.R. 3111, The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Administration Reform Act of 2019, which would make administrative reforms to the NFIP [Passed 58-0]

H.R. 3167, The NFIP Reauthorization Act of 2019, which would extend NFIP through Sept. 30, 2024. While CUNA supports this bill and H.R. 3111, it also called for a long-term, sustainable solution to restore certainty to the market [Passed 59-0]

H.R. 2162, The House Financial Literacy Act of 2019, which would require the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide a 25-basis point discount in FHA insurance premiums for first-time homebuyers that complete a financial counseling course [Passed 53-6]

Posted June 11, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

Prior to the Committee’s vote, CUNA wrote in support of appropriations levels for two credit union-related funds in the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Act for Fiscal Year 2020. The committee passed the bill on Tuesday.

The legislation allocates $300 million for the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund, a $50 million increase over last year. The fund makes capital grants, equity investments and awards for technical assistants to certified CDFIs.

As of May 1, there are 291 credit unions out of 1,083 certified CDFIs nationwide.

Posted June 11, 2019 by jbrunson

The CFPB announced a symposium focused on abusive acts or practices will be held in Washington, DC on June 25 at 9:00 a.m. Those interested in attending in-person can sign up here, the symposium will also be webcast on the Bureau’s website. 

The Dodd-Frank Act authorizes the Bureau to take enforcement, supervision, and rulemaking actions concerning unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices (UDAAP). The meaning of abusiveness is less developed than the meaning of unfair or deceptive, which have been defined substantially by the Federal Trade Commission Act. The symposium will provide a public forum for the Bureau and the public to hear various perspectives on the meaning of abusiveness.  

This symposium will include remarks from CFPB Director Kraninger, Deputy Director Brian Johnson, and feature two panels of legal experts and acade

Posted June 11, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

Prior to the Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation’s hearing on “An Examination of State Efforts to Oversee the $1.5 Trillion Student Loan Servicing Market,” CUNA wrote to Chairman Green and Ranking Member Barr supporting H.R. 1661. If enacted, H.R. 1661 would provide the NCUA with

Posted June 11, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

Prior to the Senate Banking Committee hearing on Data Brokers and the Impact on Financial Data Privacy, Credit, Insurance, Employment and Housing, CUNA wrote the Chairman Crapo and Ranking Member Brown continuing advocacy efforts on data security. Although the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act has served the financial services industry well, Congress must work with the administration to finally address consumer data privacy in a meaningful way.

Posted June 11, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to the House Armed Services Committee leadership urging them to reject language in FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act that would expand exemptions from costs related to leases, utilities and services on military bases for financial institutions. 

"This exemption is not guaranteed for every credit union on every military base. It is a negotiation between that military installation’s base commander and that specific credit union. Furthermore, this exemption is limited in scope to credit unions if at least 95 percent of the membership to be served by the allotment of space or the facility built on the lease land is composed of individuals who are, or who were at the time of admission into the credit union, military personnel or federal employees, or members of their families."

Posted June 11, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

Sheltered Harbor, a voluntary initiative designed to help protect against cyberattacks, will conduct a free informational webinar June 19. CUNA is a founding board member of Sheltered Harbor and recently joined other financial trade associations to call on all financial institution CEOs to join the initiative.

Registration is currently open for the June 19 webinar, scheduled to run from 1 to 2 p.m. (ET).

Posted June 09, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

This week, the House will consider H. Res. 430, authorizing the Committee on the Judiciary to initiate or intervene in judicial proceedings to enforce certain subpoenas and for other purposes; H.R. 2740, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020 [Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Legislative Branch, Defense, State, Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 2020]; and H.R. 3151, the Taxpayer First Act. 

The Senate will convene this week to consider Ryan T. Holte, of Ohio, to be a Judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims for a term of fifteen years

Posted June 06, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

In the second day of a two-day meeting of the CFPB Credit Union Advisory Council (CUAC) the group discussed the recent debt collection proposal, the Bureau’s work to educate and engage consumers, and trends in the mortgage market.  In today’s meetings, the CUAC was joined in a combined session by the Community Bank Advisory Council (CBAC) and Consumer Advisory Board (CAB).  

The session on debt collection included a presentation on the proposal by John McNamara, Assistant Director of the Office of Consumer Lending, Reporting, and Collection Markets. The presentation included a high-level overview of the rule’s proposed requirements on Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) covered debt collections – also referred to as “third-party debt collectors.”  The CFPB’s proposal does not directly affect credit unions collecting their own debts, but CUNA has raised concerns about the potential indirect effects on credit unions that assign out charged off loans. 

Posted June 06, 2019 by jbrunson

The CFPB issued a final rule to delay the August 19, 2019 compliance date for the mandatory underwriting provisions of the 2017 Payday Rule. Under the final rule, compliance with these provisions is pushed back to November 19, 2020.

In addition to the delay, the Bureau is also making certain technical corrections to address errors in other provisions of the rule.  The Bureau also released several resources for those interested in the compliance delay final rule, including a table of contents and an unofficial redline.

CUNA was supportive of the proposed delay in comments submitted to the Bureau in March 2019 but also called on the Bureau to delay the entire rule and offered recommendations on the Bureau’s overall approach to regulating the payday lending market.

Posted June 06, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to approve its default call-blocking order, which includes a CUNA-supported mechanism for challenging erroneous call blocking. CUNA is concerned the order will lead to credit unions being unable to reach members with important information with members unaware the calls have been blocked.

In an interview with Fox Business News, Chairman Pai indicated that the proposed draft declaratory ruling would be modified to include a mechanism for legitimate callers to challenge erroneous call-blocking. This represented a significant change in his office’s prior position.

“Today’s ruling would not have been possible without the 360-degree advocacy of the CUNA/League system,” said Ryan Donovan, CUNA chief advocacy officer. “Over the last few months, CUNA, Leagues and credit unions worked directly with the FCC, Congress, the CFPB and NCUA to ensure that any approach to stem robocalls protects credit unions’ ability to contact members and protect their financial health and security. This is how we approach every issue, and it has proven successful time and time again.”

Posted June 05, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA joined the American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL) and state credit union associations from across the country in writing to Senate Banking Committee leadership urging them to conduct hearings and discuss safe banking options for legal cannabis-based businesses.

“The lack of legal and regulatory guidance on banking for legitimate cannabis business has created a dangerous and costly environment for all involved since they now must operate on an almost all-cash basis,” the letter reads. “Not only do the employees have to transact with and transmit large amounts of cash daily, often tens of thousands of dollars at a time, but the states must also collect taxes and licensing fees in cash, which increases compliance and administrative costs for the state and the business…we urge you to move forward with hearings to explore remedies to these issues.”

Posted June 06, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

As you know, the FCC recently proposed the adoption of a call-blocking order that would, among other things, allow voice-service providers to block, by default, any “unwanted” telephone call to consumers regardless of whether those calls were legal. The FCC is scheduled to vote on the proposal today, June 6th.   Last week we submitted our comments and concerns directly to the FCC.

We have and continue to work closely with a coalition of industry groups to try to slow down or modify the proposed rule.  As you recall, last week, we issued an action alert encouraging credit unions to raise concerns directly with the FCC.  In a two day period, more than 1,000 credit union advocates contacted the FCC with original letters describe our concerns and urging changes to the proposal so that credit unions can continue to communicate and provide members with critical information.  

Until today, the FCC appeared all but prepared to move forward with adopting the order as is, despite our concerns.  But last night, things appear to have changed somewhat. 

In an interview with Fox Business News, Chairman Pai indicated that the proposed draft declaratory ruling would be modified to include a mechanism for legitimate callers to challenge erroneous call-blocking. This represents a significant change in his office’s prior position.  We are confident that his change is an acknowledgement of our grassroots effort as well as the lobbying we have done in conjunction with the industry groups. 

“We will closely review the modification that Chairman Pai is proposing, but based on what he said on Fox News tonight, we view this as a positive step and a reflection of the impact that our grassroots efforts have had,” said Ryan Donovan, CUNA chief advocacy officer.

Posted June 05, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The CFPB’s Credit Union Advisory Council (CUAC) discussed faster payments, remittances, and the CFPB’s Start Small, Save Up Initiative with Bureau experts. 

Gary Stein, Deputy Assistant Director for the Office of Card, Payment and Deposit Markets, gave a presentation on the potential effects of faster payments on financial services. The presentation included an overview of the Bureau’s faster payments activities and examples of faster payments systems currently in place.  Stein also discussed the CFPB’s consumer protection principles for faster payments.  Members of the CUAC raised the need for faster payments to be paired with appropriate security to prevent fraud and system misuse. 

Posted June 04, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The House Appropriations subcommittee on financial services and general government passed its legislation for fiscal year 2020, legislation with several important credit union priorities addressed. Prior to the markup, CUNA wrote to Chairman Quigley and Ranking Member Graves urging the Committee to increase funding for the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. 

The legislation passed includes funding for the CDFI at $300 million for FY2020, a $50 million increase from last year's $250 million. 

Posted June 03, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

LTD Financial, Debt Management Partners, and Bayview Solutions filed responses to CUNA’s Motion for Leave to File the Amicus Briefs.  The companies are involved in litigation related to federal credit unions’ access to federal courts via diversity jurisdiction.   

Today, the Court granted CUNA’s motions for leave to file the Amicus Briefs.

Posted June 03, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

This week the House will consider H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019.  In addition, the House will likely vote on H.R. 2157, the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019.  This bill includes a provision that would extend the NFIP through the end of the fiscal year (9/30/2019). 

The Senate is expected to consider S. 1332, which would set forth the congressional budget levels for Fiscal Year 2020.  This bill is being offered by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).  The Senate is also expected to consider the nomination of Andrew Saul to be Commissioner of Social Security.  

Posted May 30, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The House extended via unanimous consent the National Flood Insurance Program until June 14, a two-week extension of the program. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill, preventing the program from lapsing, which was set to occur at 11:59 p.m. (ET) May 31.