During the 113th Congress, the House passed the Consumer Financial Freedom and Washington Accountability Act (H.R. 3193), a package of several smaller bills, backed by NAFCU, that would bring greater accountability and transparency to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
The bill would:
While this bill was not taken up in the Senate during the 113th Congress, and making fundamental changes to the structure of the CFPB remains an uphill climb, Republican advocates for such changes control both the House and Senate in the 114th Congress.
In March 2015, Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, introduced legislation (H.R. 1266) that would again change the CFPB's structure from a single director to a bipartisan five-person commission appointed by the President. NAFCU strongly supports this renewed effort.
It is worth noting that some technical changes have been made at the CFPB including the adoption of a law that would require the CFPB to keep confidential the privileged information it receives from financial institutions. This is consistent with provisions already in place for other financial regulators.
In addition to the concepts noted above, NAFCU has also endorsed a measure that was introduced in both chambers during the 113th Congress that would create an Office of the Ombudsman housed within the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council to oversee the appeals process should a financial institution challenge a material supervisory determination. NAFCU believes this outside mechanism allowing credit unions to challenge exam findings from both NCUA and/or the CFPB will promote consistency and eliminate the current conflict of interest inherent in the appeals process. A similar provision was included in the Financial Regulatory Improvement Act, legislation crafted by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) that was voted out of committee along party lines in May 2015. This package also included an amendment proposed by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) to raise the CFPB financial institution examination threshold from $10 billion to $50 billion.
NAFCU has testified on legislative improvements to the structure of the CFPB several times, most recently on February 12, 2015. In January 2012, President Obama, despite opposition from Senate Republicans, appointed former Ohio attorney-general Richard Cordray to be the first director of the CFPB.
In June 2009, the Obama Administration released its plan for reforming the financial regulatory system. The hallmark of the administration's proposal was the creation of a new government agency aimed at consumer financial protection with rule making power over financial institutions, including credit unions.
While NAFCU supports bad actors on Wall Street being under a new regulatory regime, NAFCU was on the forefront opposing this new burden for credit unions, which by admission of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, did not contribute to the financial crisis. Still, sweeping financial reform passed during the 111th Congress, establishing the CFPB, which has rule-making authority over all credit unions, and examination and enforcement authority over those exceeding $10 billion in assets.
NAFCU has stayed at the forefront of this issue and continued to champion credit unions in major media nationwide.
Testimonies Attack CFPB Rules (Credit Union Times, March 18, 2015)
NAFCU Commends Rep For Bill Proposing CFPB Leadership Change…(CUtoday.info, March 8, 2015)
CFPB Commission Bill Introduced (Credit Union Times, March 5, 2015)
Bill Introduced to Replace CFPB Director With Committee (The MReport, March 5, 2015)
Financial Trades Support Push To Alter CFPB Governance (Credit Union Journal, March 5, 2015)
Will CFPB’s Director Be Replaced By A Commission? (PYMNTS.com, March 5, 2015)
BIZ BACKS RANDY'S BILL (The Hill, March 4, 2015)
Read recent letters from NAFCU to members of Congress on the important issue of improvements to the CFPB.
3-6-2015 NAFCU Letter in Support for Structural Changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
3-5-2015 NAFCU Letter in Support of the Financial Product Safety Commission Act (H.R. 1266)
6-9-2014 NAFCU Letter to the House Financial Services Committee to Promote Transparency and Accountability at the CFPB
5-20-2014 NAFCU Letter in Support for Transparency and Accountability at CFPB
2-10-2014 NAFCU letter on H.R. 3193
View all NAFCU Policy Letters
Updated June 2015