November 14, 2019

NAFCU, Treasury meet on housing finance reform, tech issues

Treasury Department

NAFCU met Wednesday at the Treasury Department with Bimal Patel, assistant secretary for financial institutions, and staff to discuss a number of high-priority credit union issues, including housing finance reform, faster payments, cybersecurity, fintechs, and ADA.

NAFCU Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and General Counsel Carrie Hunt, Director of Regulatory Affairs Ann Kossachev, Senior Counsel for Research and Policy Andrew Morris, and Regulatory Counsel Kaley Schafer attended the meeting.

NAFCU is a leading advocate for credit unions as federal agencies and Congress work to reform the housing finance system. The Trump administration in September released housing finance reform plans from the Treasury Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development, which included a number of the association's priorities. Treasury coordinated its plan with Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Dr. Mark Calabria, with whom NAFCU has met several times.

During Wednesday's meeting, NAFCU reiterated to Patel the importance of maintaining credit unions' unfettered access to the secondary mortgage market and its belief that reform efforts should be coordinated with Congress to ensure certain protections are in place before the government-sponsored enterprises are released from conservatorship.

In addition, NAFCU, Patel, and staff discussed the following:

  • Faster payments: NAFCU shared insights and the association's support of the Federal Reserve's FedNow Service proposal. NAFCU continues to advocate for credit unions' access to affordable faster payments capabilities to attract new members and improve member satisfaction.              
  • Cybersecurity: NAFCU consistently advocates for national data and cyber security standards with Congress and other stakeholders and has myriad resources to support credit unions' security available online. NAFCU met earlier this year with Brian Peretti, director of Treasury's Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection (OCIP) and Compliance Policy, to discuss the departments cybersecurity initiatives, and is also actively engaged with the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council (FSSCC), which brings together private and public stakeholders to develop critical infrastructure strategies and initiatives.
  • Fintech: NAFCU in September shared with key agencies, including Treasury, its new whitepaper intended to chart a path toward regulatory coordination between traditional financial institutions and fintech companies. In coordination with the whitepaper, NAFCU is meeting with regulators to determine how the association can help the credit union industry embrace innovations and remain competitive. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is also within the Treasury Department and has created a fintech charter, which establishes a first-of-its-kind regulatory framework for fintech companies and addresses many of NAFCU's recommendations regarding fintech supervision, such as equal application of consumer compliance expectations.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): NAFCU discussed the need for a rulemaking clarifying website accessibility requirements under the ADA. The association has urged the Department of Justice to issue clear guidance given a series of court decisions that provided differing opinions on whether – and to what degree – websites must be ADA accessible.