March 08, 2012

Exam fairness bill offered in Senate

March 8, 2012 – A measure that seeks to make credit union and bank examinations more transparent and consistent may be advancing after Tuesday's introduction of S. 2160, a companion to the House version of the Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act.

S. 2160 was introduced by Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and awaits action of the Senate Banking Committee. Like H.R. 3461, on which NAFCU testified Feb. 1, the Senate measure would require that supervisory findings in examinations be supported by documentation and that institutions be able to appeal material findings to an ombudsman to be established within the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.

Moran said the bill, S. 2160, would "establish a more transparent approach to bank examinations and allow for a more robust appeals process for times when there is a legitimate disagreement between a regulator and the bank." He said under the current climate, it has become "just too difficult" for small businesses to get needed capital and hire new employees.

JetStream FCU's Jeanne Kucey testified in favor of H.R. 3461 on behalf of NAFCU during a hearing of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. In the hearing, Kucey said credit unions need to be able to take their concerns to an independent third party.

H.R. 3461 was introduced by Reps. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., the subcommittee's chairman and ranking member.