May 03, 2011

NAFCU urges CFPB improvements

May 4, 2011 – NAFCU Executive Vice President of Government Affairs Dan Berger urged a House subcommittee Tuesday to clear three bills that would revise the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's structure and make other operational changes.

Writing for the record of today's mark-up by the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions, Berger urged the adoption of H.R. 1121, which would create a five-person commission for the CFPB; H.R. 1315, which would permit the Financial Stability Oversight Council to turn back certain CFPB rules on a majority vote of its members; and H.R. 1667, which would delay the date regulatory authorities transfer to the CFPB until the bureau still has a Senate-confirmed director.

The letter, to panel Chairman Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Ranking Member Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., was copied to all subcommittee members.

Berger, in the letter, noted NAFCU's opposition to placing credit unions under any CFPB authority – it was the only credit union trade to do so – since the cooperatives did not cause the financial crisis. He underscored NAFCU's position that the bureau's primary focus should be regulating the unregulated in the financial services arena, "not adding new regulatory burdens to those entities that already fall under a functional regulator."

Still, he said NAFCU does see areas for improvement to the current CFPB. He said the commission proposed in H.R. 1121, introduced by Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., "would help ensure that decisions of the CFPB will be thoroughly vetted and debated instead of promulgated at the whim of a single individual." H.R 1315, introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., on FSOC vetoes of CFPB rules would be "a positive step that ensures safety and soundness concerns do not take a back seat in this new regulatory environment."

In supporting H.R. 1667, authored by Capito, Berger said lawmakers, their constituents "and every entity under the CFPB deserve a fair and open process in which candidates that may head the new agency are properly vetted."

Today's mark-up is set for 10 a.m.