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House to Vote on CFPB Council Bill Today
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 6:35 AM

As the U.S. House prepares to vote on the Bureau of Consumer Protection (CFPB) Advisory Act (H.R. 1195) today, CUNA has written to House leadership encouraging its passage. In a letter sent to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle called the bill an important step in protecting credit union interests.

The bill, passed by the House Financial Services Committee March 26, would codify the CFPB's Credit Union Advisory Council (CUAC) and Small Business Advisory Board, which are currently established on a voluntary basis.

"The CUAC is not required by law; therefore, it could be abolished at any time," Nussle wrote. "We believe the CUAC is an important resource for the bureau because it provides a forum for credit union officials to provide direct feedback to the bureau on how its proposals and final rules will affect how credit unions serve their members."

Nussle added that the bill would allow credit unions "the ability to have a permanent voice" in the bureau's rulemaking process.

In recent days, the dynamics of the bill have changed because of an amendment that was added by the House Rules Committee. The amendment, which was offered by House Financial Services Committee Chair Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), would limit the amount of money the CFPB can draw from the Federal Reserve in 2020 and 2025.

"In the last week or so, this legislation has turned from one that has enjoyed broad bipartisan support to one which has significant partisan overtones," said Ryan Donovan, CUNA's chief advocacy officer. He also noted that the chief Democratic sponsor of the bill, Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA), sent a letter to his colleagues urging them to vote against the bill.

The White House has stated that if President Barack Obama was presented the currently amended version of the bill, his senior advisers would recommend he veto it. According to the White House, the administration supported the original bill, before the addition of an amendment limiting the CFPB budget.

"We are going to continue to advocate for a permanent credit union advisory council at the CFPB because it's the right public policy," said Donovan. "There's still a long way to go, and we will continue to work Congress and the administration to get this provision in law one way or the other."