September 12, 2017

Senators recognize CUs' importance, tout reg relief efforts

The Senate is working toward bipartisan regulatory relief for credit unions, a few senators told hundreds of industry representatives at NAFCU's Congressional Caucus on Tuesday.

Credit union representatives heard directly from Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Senate Banking Committee members Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Mike Rounds, R-S.D.

Speaking on issues ranging from the regulatory burden caused by the Dodd-Frank Act to the need to hold retailers accountable for data security breaches that occur on their end, senators reaffirmed for Caucus attendees the importance of credit unions in the financial services industry.

Heitkamp 1
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.

Regulatory relief

"Everything we do needs to be focused on creating a more competitive environment," Heitkamp told Caucus attendees. She added that Dodd-Frank has become "too small to succeed" and has created a system that really benefits the big banks that can afford higher compliance costs and operate in economies of any scale.

Rounds added that the Senate is working to make changes to the Dodd-Frank Act, but those will be incremental with bipartisan support.

Heitkamp also said the Durbin debit card interchange amendment housed in the Dodd-Frank Act is "toxic."

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Chairman Capito talked about how she would like the CFPB to be led by a commission rather than a single director.

Data security

Rounds 1
Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D.

Heitkamp received applause from the Caucus crowd when she said "someone needs to go to jail" over the recent Equifax data breach. "It's a problem when people act with impunity without any consequences," she added.

Capito said data and cybersecurity are front and center in the Senate. "We need to work globally to solve this problem," she said.

Tax reform

Heitkamp said she will not support any tax reform measures that remove credit unions' cooperative structure. Capito said reforming the tax code can spur economic growth. Rounds said that "tax reform is absolutely critical" and that "we won't be able to move this economy without it."

The senators also touched on National Flood Insurance Program reauthorization, infrastructure spending and budget reforms.

NAFCU's Congressional Caucus runs through today in Washington. Follow the hashtag #NAFCUCaucus for the latest information.