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This Week in Washington, DC
Tuesday, June 9, 2015 6:40 AM

The U.S. House and the Senate are back in session. Following are brief snapshots of what you need to know about credit union advocacy this week. More details can be found on the CUNA Advocacy Update website.

House Financial Services Committee Hearing

On Thursday, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a legislative hearing on twelve bills aimed at providing regulatory relief to financial institutions. Several of these bills would reduce credit unions' regulatory burden or improve the regulatory environment in which credit unions operate. CUNA supports the following bills subject to Thursday's hearing:

  1. HR 766, Financial Institution Customer Protection Act of 2015 (Luetkemeyer)
    This legislation seeks to put an end to Operation Chokepoint. 
  2. HR 1210, Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act (Barr)
    This legislation would treat mortgages held in portfolio at credit unions and other mortgage lenders as qualified mortgages for the purposes of the CFPB's mortgage lending rules. 
  3. HR 1266, Financial Product Safety Commission Act of 2015 (Neugebauer)
    This legislation would replace the CFPB executive director with a commission nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. 
  4. HR 1941, Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act (Westmoreland and Maloney)
    This legislation is the examination fairness bill that CUNA has supported for the last several Congresses. Among other things, the legislation would create an independent ombudsman and an independent examination appeals process. 
  5. HR 2213, providing temporary safe harbor from the enforcement of integrated disclosure requirements for mortgage loan transactions under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 and the Truth in Lending Act (Pearce/Sherman)
    This legislation would address the liability issues associated with delaying enforcement of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures requirements.
  6. HR 2287, NCUA Budget Transparency Act (Mulvaney and Sinema)
    This legislation would require the National Credit Union Administration Board to conduct an annual hearing on the agency's budget. This is a proposal that CUNA has asked Congress to consider as a way to bring more transparency and greater stakeholder input into the agency's budget process.

CUNA expects these bills to be considered by the full committee at a markup before the end of the month and possibly considered by the full House of Representatives in July.

FHLB Access for Privately Insured Credit Unions

Sen. Donnelly (D-IN) and Sen. Portman (R-OH) introduced S. 1367, which would amend the Federal Home Loan Bank Act to provide equity for privately insured credit unions. The House has already passed its own version of the bill, H.R 299, the "Capital Access for Community Financial Institutions Act" this Congress.

Patent Reform Markup

The Senate Committee on Judiciary held a markup of S. 1137, the "PATENT Act" on June 4. The bill passed the committee by a vote of 16–4. The bill address the problem of demand letters from patent trolls by requiring that demand letters include clear and detailed information like: the owner of the patent, what entities have a financial interest in the patent, what product or services is allegedly being infringed upon, and how such a product or service causes infringement.

H.R. 1295, the Trade Preferences Extension Act

A group of financial services trade associations, including CUNA, sent a letter to Senate and House leadership expressing concern over section 603 of H.R. 1295, the "Trade Preferences Extension Act" which passed the Senate on May 18. Section 603 would change current law to require banks, credit unions, and broker/dealers to report to the IRS and their customers all interest bearing as well as non-interest bearing accounts. The change would be effective for the current tax year of 2015, and credit unions and banks would have very little time to adapt their systems to comply with this timeline. The nominal benefit this bill could generate in the form of tax revenue will not outweigh the costs it will impose. CUNA strongly urges that this section be removed as quickly as possible.