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 September 27, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to the House Financial Services Committee Task Force on Financial Technology prior to their hearing on real-time payments. Real-time payments will help credit unions provide necessary financial services to their members and improve members access to their funds. Credit unions exist to help their members, but cannot do it alone. Credit unions rely on networks of key vendors to provide service to members and no current vendor is more critical than the Federal Reserve.

Posted September 27, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA filed a comment letter in support of the NCUA’s proposed interpretive ruling and policy statement (IRPS) regarding Exceptions to Employment Restrictions under Section 205(d) of the FCU Act (referred to as the Second Chance IRPS). Section 205(d) requires a credit union to obtain approval by the NCUA Board prior to hiring an individual convicted of certain criminal offenses. The proposed IRPS replaces an existing IRPS from 2008 that provides guidance on Section 205(d).

Posted September 27, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

Prior to the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) hearing on abusive debt collection practices, CUNA wrote to Chairwoman Waters and Ranking Member McHenry advocating against legislation that would expand the scope of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDPA) to first-party debt collectors.  

CUNA’s letter details how Congress limited the scope of the FCDPA to third-party collectors in recognition that a creditor-borrower relationship depends on maintaining goodwill long after the debt payment process has been concluded, and this dynamic has not changed.

Posted September 26, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to Chairman Crapo and Ranking Member Brown prior to yesterday’s hearing in the Senate Banking Committee hearing entitled, “Facilitating Faster Payments in the U.S.”

The letter notes that CUNA and its members strongly support the Federal Reserve’s decision to develop and operate a real-time payments network called FedNow, and also support efforts of The Clearing House (TCH) to develop its own real-time payments network. Real-time payments will help credit unions provide necessary financial services to their members and improve access to funds.

Posted September 25, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The House passed H.R. 1595, the SAFE Banking Act by a strong bipartisan vote of 321 – 103. This historic vote that comes months after strong CUNA, League and credit union advocacy on behalf of the bill. If enacted, this legislation would provide legal protections to financial institutions serving state-legalized cannabis-based businesses.

Posted September 24, 2019 by Chandler Schuette

The Department of Labor issued a final rule updating the earnings thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative and professional employees from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime pay requirements.

In the final rule, the Department is:

  • Raising the “standard salary level” from the currently enforced level of $455 per week to $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year for a full-year worker);
  • Raising the total annual compensation requirement for “highly compensated employees” from the currently enforced level of $100,000 per year to $107,432 per year;
  • Allowing employers to use non discretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level, in recognition of evolving pay practices; and
  • Revising the special salary levels for workers in U.S. territories and the motion picture industry.

Posted September 23, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

This week the House of Representatives will consider H.R. 1595, the SAFE Banking Act of 2019. This bill will be considered under “suspension of the rules” … meaning that the bill is not able to be amended and must garner a two-thirds vote for passage.

The Senate is expected to vote on H.R. 4378, the House-passed continuing resolution to fund the federal government through November 21. This bill includes a provision to extend the National Flood Insurance program through November 21. Also, there is a provision that ensures the operation of the SBA’s 7(a) loan program … loans that many credit unions make.

Posted September 19, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The NCUA Board adopted final rules on supervisory committee audits, FCU bylaws, and Payday Alternative Loans, and received its quarterly briefing on the status of the Share Insurance Fund.

Posted September 18, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CFPB announces amendments to the consumer complaint database.

While the database will still be public, the Bureau is making changes to provide more context to the complaints in addition to providing options for the consumer to resolve (or get information about) their issue prior to submitting a complaint about a financial institution. 

Posted September 17, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA filed a comment letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in response to the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking by the agency proposing to eliminate the GSE Patch under the current ability-to-repay requirements.

In the letter, CUNA reiterated the positions it previously advanced in a coalition letter with the American Bankers Association, the Mortgage Bankers Association, consumer advocacy groups and others, urging the agency to eliminate the 43% debt-to-income ratio and Appendix Q requirements in the underlying QM definition, while highlighting specific concerns relevant to credit unions’ ability to fulfill their specified mission of serving individuals of modest means in the absence of any effort by the Bureau to make the requested modifications.

Posted September 15, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

This week on the House floor, a continuing resolution to fund the federal government will be considered.  We expect all funding accounts to be continued during the period of the “CR” at fiscal year 2019 levels.  At this time, no end date for the CR has been agreed upon. 

Also, the House will bring up H.R. 1423, the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act.  Finally, the House will consider a number of Financial Services Committee bills under suspension of the rules.

The Senate is expected to consider of list of executive branch nominations. 

Posted September 12, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA joined other trade associations in writing to the CFPB urging the Bureau to retain its Qualified Mortgage (QM) safe harbor and product features but remove the debt-to-income (DTI) requirement for prime and near-prime loans when the government-sponsored enterprises’ (GSE) "patch" expires.

The Temporary GSE QM, a category of QM eligible for purchase by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, is scheduled to expire in January 2021 or after a short extension. The CFPB issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking on whether to propose revisions to the definition of QM in light of the planned expiration.

Posted September 11, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA sent a letter to FASB in support of its plan to delay the effective dates of several financial instruments standards, including CECL.

Posted September 11, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The House passed two CUNA-supported bills this week.  In July, CUNA wrote in support of both pieces of legislation while in the House Financial Services Committee.

H.R. 2852, the Homebuyer Assistance Act of 2019 
If enacted this legislation would ensure the Federal Housing Administration’s appraiser requirements are identical to those currently employed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac concerning licensed appraisers. As a result, credit unions would be able provide members with more choices for federally-backed loans without any concerns that an appraisal will not satisfy a program’s requirements due to their differing appraiser certification standards. It passed 419-5.

H.R. 281, the Ensuring Diverse Leadership Act of 2019
The Ensuring Diverse Leadership Act of 2019 would require the Federal Reserve Banks to interview at least one candidate reflective of gender diversity and one candidate of racial or ethnic diversity when appointing presidents.  Since the Federal Reserve’s inception in 1913, only seven women have served as reserve bank presidents, with Janet Yellen being the only female to serve as chair of the Federal Reserve Board. It passed by voice vote.

Posted September 10, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

This week, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing to discuss housing finance reform.  Prior to the hearing, CUNA wrote to Chairman Crapo and Ranking Member Brown outlining what must be present in a future system to ensure a strong and sustainable secondary market.

The letter notes that the future secondary mortgage market must “build upon and strengthen the existing partnerships between credit unions, guarantors, and Federal Home Loan Banks in ensuring access to responsible and affordable mortgage credit for millions of credit union members.”

CUNA believes, as Congress and the administration work to reform the current housing finance system.

Posted September 10, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

Prior to the House Financial Services Committee hearing on protecting student borrowers, CUNA wrote in support of H.R. 1661 in a letter to Chairwoman Waters and Ranking Member McHenry.

If enacted, H.R. 1661 would provide the NCUA board the flexibility to increase federal credit union loan maturity limits. Longer maturity limits for federal credit union loans would allow credit unions to better service members.  The ability to set a longer loan maturity for Federal credit union loans would provide student borrowers across the country with more opportunities for education that is more affordable both in the short and long term.

Posted September 09, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

This week, both the House and Senate will return from their August district work periods.  The House will consider a number of pieces of legislation.  Of interest to financial institutions, the House will vote on two CUNA-supported bills … H.R. 2852, the Homebuyer Assistance Act of 2019 and H.R. 281, the Ensuring Diverse Leadership Act of 2019.  Others bills under consideration include H.R. 3620, the Strategy and Investment in Rural Housing Preservation Act of 2019; H.R. 1690, the Safe Housing for Families Act of 2019; and H.R. 241, the Bank Service Company Examination Act.

The Senate will begin committee consideration of appropriations legislation this week.  Most of the twelve bills will not receive subcommittee consideration because of the truncated schedule (September 30 marks the end of fiscal year 2019).  The Senate is expected to start consideration of appropriations bills on the Senate floor the week of September 16.  On the floor this week, the Senate will consider a number of executive branch nominations.

Posted September 06, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The Administration released its long-awaited proposal for housing finance reform—outlining Treasury’s goal of returning Fannie-Mae and Freddie Mac to privately held companies and urging Congress to pass legislation that would expand the number of secondary market participants with access to an explicit government guarantee.  “We applaud the Administration’s efforts to address this critical issue and look forward to working with both Congress and the Administration to develop the specific steps needed to reform the housing finance market and ensure that credit unions are able to continue providing affordable mortgage credit to Americans across the economic spectrum.” 

Posted September 06, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

The CFPB has announced that it will host a symposium on behavioral law and economics on September 19 in Washington, D.C.  

The symposium is the second in a series exploring important consumer financial services issues. The first was held in June and focused on defining “abusive acts or practices.”

According to the Bureau, the symposia series is “aimed at stimulating a proactive and transparent dialogue to assist the Bureau in its policy development process, including possible future rulemakings.”