May 24, 2017

Berger praises McWatters' call for CU exemption from CFPB rules

NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger on Wednesday praised NCUA Acting Chairman J. Mark McWatters' call in a letter to CFPB Director Richard Cordray to use the exemption authority under Section 1022 of the Dodd-Frank Act with respect to credit unions "whenever possible."

"We are grateful for Chairman McWatters' strong leadership in calling for this needed reform," Berger said. "NAFCU has long urged the CFPB to take advantage of its congressionally granted legal authority to exempt credit unions under Section 1022 of the Dodd-Frank Act. It is vital that the bureau recognize that putting member-owned, not-for-profit credit unions under the same standards as the Wall Street banks that caused the financial crisis is counterproductive and harmful for the 107 million members credit unions serve.

"We look forward to discussing this matter further with Chairman McWatters and continuing to push for meaningful regulatory relief that would allow credit unions to focus on serving their members," Berger continued.

In his letter, McWatters discussed the regulatory burden for credit unions from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and the CFPB's approach to unfair, deceptive and abusive acts or practices (UDAAP), and the need for regulatory relief in those areas.

"Section 1022(b)(3)(A) of the Dodd-Frank Act provides that the Bureau may exempt any class of persons, service providers, or consumer financial services from certain regulations," McWatters wrote. "Among the factors involved in determining whether to provide and exemption include asset size and volume of transactions. I urge the Bureau to exercise this exemption authority whenever possible with respect to credit unions, given the community's long history of serving their members and protecting consumers."

Specifically, when it comes to HMDA, McWatters asked Cordray to exempt credit unions from the 14 of the 25 new data collection points imposed by bureau's regulatory action and not included in the statute. McWatters also urged the CFPB to provide greater clarity on UDAAP through rulemaking or guidance, which NAFCU has long advocated.

McWatters also acknowledged NCUA Board Member Rick Metsger's October 2016 letter to the CFPB urging the bureau to exempt credit unions from its final payday lending rules, noting that the NCUA already regulates credit union payday alternative loans (PALs) sufficiently.