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U.S. Reps Back Relief Language in 2017 Appropriations Bill
Monday, March 21, 2016 6:45 AM

Legislators have proposed several Credit Union National Association-supported amendments to the draft financial services and general government (FSGG) appropriation legislation for fiscal year 2017. The subcommittee accepted submissions on the 2017 appropriations bill through March 17.

Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) requested the House Appropriations subcommittee on financial services and general government include “common-sense regulatory relief language” for community financial institutions in its report for FSGG legislation.

“With major rules already being implemented and new regulations on the horizon, I urged you to include language in your legislation that expresses the sense of Congress that the CFPB use its statutory exemption authority to ensure its rulemakings do not adversely impact of ability of credit unions and small banks to provide affordable and safe financial services products to our constituents,” Stivers wrote.

Stivers was joined by 328 fellow members of Congress earlier this month requesting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau use its exemption authority to ease the regulatory burden on credit unions. Stivers cited that letter in his FSGG letter.

Another letter sent to the subcommittee, spearheaded by Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) and signed by 13 of his colleagues, requests the FSGG subcommittee include a safe harbor from the CFPB’s qualified mortgage ability-to-repay rule for loans held in a credit union or bank’s portfolio.

The request would add the language from the CUNA-supported Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act (H.R. 1210). That bill passed the House with a bipartisan 225-174 vote in November 2015.

“By aligning interests of borrowers and lenders, H.R. 1210 would expand access to affordable mortgage credit for our constituents, while reducing the related threats of instability in our financial system and additional taxpayer bailouts of financial and government-backed institutions,” the letter reads.

The letter cites CUNA’s support of H.R. 1210, and notes that its text has also been includes in a section of the Senate’s 2016 FSGG appropriations act and Sen. Richard Shelby’s (R-AL) regulatory relief bill.

Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), chair of the Appropriations subcommittee of commerce and justice, requesting additional regulatory relief language to the FSGG bill.

Culberson’s request would add language that requires a mandatory exemption for credit unions from all CFPB rules; would raise the member business lending cap to 27.5 percent% of assets; and allow safe harbor for QM loans held in portfolio as also requested by Barr.

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), asked for the inclusion of several measures, including one containing sections of the CUNA-supported Community Lending Enhancement and Regulatory Relief Act (H.R. 1233).

Those provisions allow for an increase in the CFPB’s small services exemption to 20,000 loans per year, up from 5,000 loans per year; and exempt higher-priced mortgage loans from certain appraisal requirements.  

A group of legislators also wrote to request the inclusion of language that would prohibit funds from being used to penalize a financial institution solely because it provides services to legal marijuana businesses.