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This Week in Washington, Senate Banking Committee to Consider Comprehensive Regulatory Relief Bill
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 6:35 AM

The House and the Senate are back in session this week for the final week of the May work period. When the chambers recess at the end of the week, they will remain out of session until the week of June 1. There are currently 27 state legislatures in session, with many having already adjourned for the year.
 
Here is what you need to know about credit unions and advocacy this week:

  • On Thursday, the Senate Banking Committee is expected to mark up a regulatory relief bill that includes at least 15 provisions which would benefit credit unions.
  • CUNA and Leagues continue advocacy efforts on Transportation Network Company Legislation.

Committee Meetings

Tuesday

  • The House Financial Services Committee Housing and Insurance Subcommittee will hold a hearing on "The Future of Housing in America: Oversight of the Rural Housing Service."
  • The House Financial Services Committee Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee will hold a hearing on "Protecting Critical Infrastructure: How the Financial Sector Addresses Cyber Threats."

Thursday

  • The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a full committee markup of the "Financial Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015."

Senate Banking Committee to Consider Comprehensive Regulatory Relief Bill
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) released a draft regulatory relief bill, "The Financial Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015 Summary of CUNA Supported Provisions." This bill includes at least 15 provisions that would provide regulatory relief to credit unions, including three that would benefit credit unions exclusively. The bill is scheduled to be marked up this Thursday.
 
The three credit union relief provisions are:

  • Allowing privately insured credit unions to become members of the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) system;
  • Granting credit unions under $1 billion in assets parity with like-sized banks by allowing less restrictive access to the FHLB system; and
  • Requiring the NCUA to hold hearings and receive public comments on its budget.

Several other relief provisions which would benefit credit unions include:

  • Allowing all mortgages held in portfolio to be treated as a qualified mortgage (QM), which defines mortgages with features to make it more affordable.
  • Establishing an ombudsman at the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, charged with receiving and investigating complaints from financial institutions relating to the examination process; 
  • Amending the Truth in Lending Act to exclude from the computation of points and fees an escrow for future payment of insurance. This section also requires the Government Accountability Office to study the impact of Dodd-Frank mortgage rules on the availability of mortgage credit, including the impact on affiliated lenders; 
  • Removing the three-day waiting period required by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's mortgage disclosure rule if the only change is a reduction in the consumer's interest rate; 
  • Directing the CFPB to establish an application process for designating an area as "rural;" and 
  • Modernizing privacy notification requirements to allow financial institutions to send notices when they are changed, not on an annual basis.

Data Security
Last Thursday, the House Financial Services full committee held its first hearing on data breach since the Target breach in 2013. The hearing is an important step in engaging the committee, which has primary jurisdiction over credit union issues in the House on this important issue.
 
CUNA submitted a letter for the record and also a joint trade's statement for the hearing titled, "Protecting Consumers: Financial Data Security in the Age of Computer Hackers." The letter outlined CUNA's support for Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) and Rep. John Carney (D-DE)'s bill HR 2205, the Data Security Act of 2015. The bill ensures that all members of the payments system that handle consumers' sensitive financial data have robust processes in place to protect data. The bill also recognizes the strong standards credit unions already have in place under the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act.
 
Members of the committee were in near complete agreement that strong data security standards, which financial institutions are subject to under GLBA, would help stop breaches if they were applied to other industries universally.
 
NCUA Budget Bill
Rep. Mulvaney (R-SC) and Rep. Sinema (D-AZ) introduced HR 2287, the NCUA Budget Transparency Act last week. CUNA wrote a letter of strong support for the bill which would bring transparency to the NCUA budgeting process by requiring the agency to hold a public hearing and allow for an open comment period where stakeholders can submit comments. An identical bill has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA). The provision is also included in Sen. Shelby's regulatory relief bill.
 
TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Regulation Enforcement and Litigation Delay
Last week, the House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance held a hearing titled, "TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure: Examining the Costs and Benefits of Changes to the Real Estate Settlement Process." Witnesses from a wide cross-section of the mortgage industry agreed that a safe harbor for the new integrated mortgage disclosure rule would be prudent.