May 10, 2017

Thaler discusses status of CHOICE Act, presses CU action

NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler, in a new NAFCU Today video, discusses the current state of the House Financial Services Committee-passed Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10), the regulatory relief efforts expected going forward and the need for credit unions to engage with lawmakers to build support.

In the video, Thaler notes NAFCU's support of the bill, which makes many changes to the Dodd-Frank Act and other financial regulations. Of great significance to the credit union industry, the CHOICE Act includes a NAFCU-backed provision that would repeal the Durbin interchange amendment.

The bill also makes significant reforms to the CFPB – reshaping the bureau as the new Consumer Law Enforcement Agency and limiting its powers, including its authority to address unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP). The CHOICE Act also would provide credit unions regulatory relief in areas such as mortgage rules, examination reforms, and better tailoring and cost-benefit analyses of new regulations and capital rules.

While the bill could be considered by the House before the end of the month, Thaler says this could "end up being a longer process." He notes that the Republican leadership of the House will need to make sure they have enough votes to pass the bill since it's not expected to gain any Democratic support. He points also to the controversial nature of the bill's Durbin amendment repeal. "Members of Congress don't want to be in a position [of having] to pick between the merchant and financial services industries," he notes.

Thaler also outlines the possible path for regulatory relief in the Senate, where Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, has indicated he wants a relief package that will garner Democratic support. "That means that his bill will likely take longer and look different, and be less comprehensive than the Financial CHOICE Act," Thaler says.

He says both chambers agree that the nation's community institutions – including credit unions – need regulatory relief, but the question is what can get done. "This is why we need credit unions to be active on the grassroots front contacting their members of Congress – both on the Durbin repeal and on the need for comprehensive regulatory relief," Thaler adds. "They need to hear your voice."

Credit unions are encouraged to reach out to their lawmakers to seek support for repealing the Durbin amendment as part of an ongoing campaign through NAFCU's Grassroots Action Center.