In February 2014, the House passed the Consumer Financial Freedom and Washington Accountability Act (H.R. 3193), a package of several smaller bills, backed by NAFCU, that would bring greater accountability and transparency to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
The bill would:
- Replace the single CFPB director with a five-person commission
- Subject the CFPB to the regular congressional appropriations process
- Prohibit the CFPB from using a consumer's personal financial information without consumer consent
- Strengthen the ability of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to overrule CFPB regulations
- Set pay rates of CFPB employees in accordance with the GS pay scale
While similar pieces of legislation have been introduced in the Senate, is not expected that structural changes to the CFPB will be considered in the Senate during the 113th Congress.
While making fundamental changes to structure of the CFPB remains an uphill climb, it is worth noting that the president has signed into law NAFCU-backed legislation that would require the CFPB to keep confidential the privileged information it receives from financial institutions. This is consistent with provisions already in place for other financial regulators.
NAFCU's Position on CFPB Improvements
In addition to the package of bills noted above, NAFCU has also endorsed a measure that was introduced in both chambers that would create an Office of the Ombudsman housed within the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council to oversee the appeals process should a financial institution challenge a material supervisory determination. NAFCU believes this outside mechanism allowing credit unions to challenge exam findings from both the NCUA and/or the CFPB will promote consistency and eliminate the current conflict of interest inherent in the appeals process. This legislation has been introduced in the 113th Congress as the Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act (H.R. 1553 / S. 727).
Issue Background Information
NAFCU has testified NAFCU several times on legislative improvements to the structure of the CFPB, most recently in October 2013. In January 2012, President Obama, despite opposition from Senate Republicans, appointed former Ohio attorney-general Richard Cordray to be the first director of the CFPB.
In June 2009, the Obama Administration released its plan for reforming the financial regulatory system. The hallmark of the administration's proposal was the creation of a new government agency aimed at consumer financial protection with rule making power over financial institutions, including credit unions.
While NAFCU supports bad actors on Wall Street being under a new regulatory regime, NAFCU was on the forefront opposing this new burden for credit unions, which by admission of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, did not contribute to the financial crisis. Still, sweeping financial reform passed during the 111th Congress, establishing the CFPB, which has rule-making authority over all credit unions, and examination and enforcement authority over those exceeding $10 billion in assets.
Recent Media Outreach
NAFCU has stayed at the forefront of this issue and continued to champion credit unions in major media nationwide.
CFPB Proposal Would Detail Consumers' Complaints (PYMNTS.com, July 28, 2014)
NAFCU Statement on Impact of Dodd-Frank and CFPB on Credit Unions (July 23, 2014)
THE CFPB EXPANDS,-- TOO MUCH TOO SOON? (The Hill, July 21, 2014)
NAFCU Statement on CFPB's Announcement to Accept Consumer Complaints on Prepaid Cards (July 21, 2014)
Financial trades oppose making unvetted CFPB complaints public (HousingWire, July 18, 2014)
Recent Policy Letters
Read recent letters from NAFCU to members of Congress on the important issue of improvements to the CFPB.
6-9-2014 NAFCU Letter to the House Financial Services Committee to Promote Transparency and Accountability at the CFPB
5-20-2014 NAFCU Letter in Support for Transparency and Accountability at CFPB
2-10-2014 NAFCU letter on H.R. 3193
View all NAFCU Policy Letters
Updated August 2014