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Donovan Op-Ed: Congress Can Help Lift CFPB Burden from CUs
Wednesday, February 24, 2016 6:30 AM

When credit union advocates visit their legislators this week during the Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference, they should bring with them the message that Congress can—and should—help ease regulatory burden.

“While this wave is coming from several agencies, it’s fair to say the brunt of credit unions’ angst today is a result of recent and pending rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB),” wrote Ryan Donovan, CUNA chief advocacy officer, in an op-ed in CUToday Tuesday morning.

“To be clear: we believe consumers deserve strong protections from predatory service providers—it is one of the reasons why CUNA was a founding organization of the Consumer Federation of America,” he added. “Nevertheless, we believe the rules should not make it more difficult for consumers to access safe and affordable financial services products.”

Donovan’s message comes as nearly 5,000 credit union advocates are in Washington, DC, for CUNA GAC—an integral part of which are the visits to federal policymakers to discuss these and other key credit union topics.

Mortgage lending in particular has been weighed down by CFPB rules, and Donovan detailed specific legislative items that would ease the load:

  • Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act (HR 1529) would exempt mortgages made by institutions under $10 billion in assets and held in portfolio for three years from the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) escrow requirements and exempt mortgage servicers that service fewer than 20,000 mortgages annually from the requirements of Section 6 of RESPA;
  • Mortgage Servicing Asset Capital Requirements Act (HR 1408/S. 1910) would direct the federal banking agencies to conduct a study of appropriate capital requirements for mortgage servicing assets for non‐systemic banking institutions;
  • Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act (HR 1210) would deem residential mortgages held in portfolio by the original creditor as a “qualified mortgage;” and
  • Mortgage Choice Act (HR 685) would improve the definitions of points and fees in connection with a mortgage transaction.

“Today, rules that ought to target bad actors are sweeping in credit unions, creating an operating environment that forces credit unions to choose from a menu of anti-consumer choices,” he wrote. “They can stop offering the products subject to new regulation; reduce offering the products; offer the products but increase the cost to consumers; or merge with another institution that has the scale to manage the increased regulatory burden.

“When a credit union is forced by regulation to choose among these options, the regulatory requirement is not consumer protection.  It is quite the opposite.”