May 21, 2014

House subcommittee considers CFPB transparency

May 22, 2014 – NAFCU's letter urging transparency at CFPB was entered into the record of a House Financial Services subcommittee hearing Wednesday by panel Chairman Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

Writing in advance of the hearing, NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Thaler urged that the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit adopt some of the bills being discussed that would promote transparency about the "day-to-day operations" at the agency: "NAFCU believes today's hearing is an important one, as it is critical for the day-to-day operations of credit unions to have a clear understanding of how the CFPB operates," he wrote.

The panel was reviewing several pieces of legislation, including H.R. 4262, the "Bureau Advisory Commission Transparency Act," introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis. This bill would apply the requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act to CFPB. The law requires open meetings and public involvement to be allowed in government agencies.

Hearing witness Ed Mierzwinski, from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, voiced opposition to a discussion draft from Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., for repeal of CFPB's ability to prohibit, condition or limit the use of arbitration provisions in contracts for consumer financial products and services.

The president of the American Land Title Association testified in favor of H.R. 4383 – the "Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Small Business Advisory Board Act" – legislation from Reps. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., and Dennis Heck, D-Wash., to create a small business advisory council at the bureau.

In an announcement welcomed by NAFCU as well as Duffy, CFPB announced this week that the bureau's board and council meetings will now be open to the public and streamed online beginning with the June 18 meeting of the Consumer Advisory Board. This new policy also applies to the Credit Union Advisory Board and the Community Bank Advisory Board.