March 24, 2021

Yellen, Powell provide updates on relief implementation; NAFCU reiterates CU needs ahead of SBC hearing

CapitolTreasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testified before the House Financial Services Committee Tuesday to provide an update on implementation of coronavirus relief and discuss the Fed's monetary policy.

On the Fed’s pandemic response, Powell testified that sectors most adversely impacted by the pandemic remain weak and noted that the data justifies continued accommodative monetary policy.

Yellen noted that the Treasury Department is working on allocating funds set aside for community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and minority depository institutions (MDIs) in the Consolidated Appropriations Act – enacted in December.

Yellen also assured the committee that implementation of Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and anti-money laundering reform, including the establishment of a beneficial ownership database, is a top priority for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

In addition, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., flagged that new data on the current expected credit loss (CECL) standard is now available and called on Powell to provide the Fed’s analysis. Luetkemeyer also reiterated his position that a delay of CECL implementation may be necessary. NAFCU has continuously called for relief for credit unions from the CECL standard; currently, the standard isn't effective for credit unions until 2023.

In a letter sent to the committee ahead of the hearing, NAFCU’s Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler reiterated the association’s call for the extension of several tools and flexibilities that will allow credit unions to continue to support their members and communities amid the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

Thaler again highlighted those needs in a letter sent Tuesday to the Senate Banking Committee ahead of today’s quarterly CARES Act report to Congress. Both Yellen and Powell are set to testify before the committee to provide an update on the implementation of CARES Act provisions.

Today's hearing is slated to begin at 10 a.m. Eastern and will be streamed live. Read Thaler’s full letter.

NAFCU has created several coronavirus resources for credit unions, including a summary chart of the CARES Act, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, and the American Rescue Plan Act. The association will continue to work with Congress to ensure credit unions have the tools needed to provide support for their members amid the pandemic.