August 15, 2017

NAFCU to CUs: Press lawmakers to urge CU exemption from MLA rule changes

Rep. Paul Cook, R-Calif., is requesting signatures from his House colleagues on a letter asking the Department of Defense to exempt credit unions from the July 2015 amendments to the Military Lending Act. Credit unions are encouraged to urge their representatives to sign the letter.

"It has come to our attention that the MLA regulation—particularly the July 2015 amendments—has caused numerous financial institutions to eliminate products and services, many of which have been relied on by servicemembers and their families," the letter states. "Specifically, we have heard from credit unions that they are being forced to cut back on, or eliminate, products that help find solutions for credit for servicemembers and their families that may have few or much worse other options."

The letter acknowledges that while the MLA changes "have proven effective in broadening the scope of products and services targeted by … lenders, it has also had the unintended effect of overregulating others, such as our nation's almost 6,000 credit unions, which serve 110 million members."

If the DoD will not exempt credit unions from the regulation, then the letter urges that rule be reexamined to see if it can be revised to minimize "the unnecessary impact it is having on credit unions and other regulated financial institutions."

Addressing the credit card component of the rule, which goes into effect Oct. 3, the letter asks the DoD to clarify certain provisions with an interim final rule or interpretative guidance. "Failure to do so could have the unintended consequence of limiting more credit opportunities," the letter states.

The DoD recently informed NAFCU that, at this time, it would not delay the Oct. 3 implementation date for credit card compliance under the MLA rule. NAFCU has met with representatives from the DoD numerous times on credit-union-specific issues and concerns about MLA compliance. The association also sent a letter in May with recommended guidance text and signed onto a letter in June with a coalition of trade associations urging an extension of the credit card compliance date.

The association will continue to push for more clarity in the form of guidance or revisions to the regulatory text for the industry. NAFCU has a host of MLA resources available here.