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Sen. Cornyn to Texas CUs: Put CFPB 'back in the box'
Thursday, March 14, 2019 6:50 AM

Sen. John Cornyn

Sen. John Cornyn told a full house of Texas credit union leaders, "I, for one, think we need to get the CFPB back in the box." The visit with Cornyn was part of the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, DC, this week.

"We know credit unions didn't cause the financial crisis," Cornyn said. "But credit unions were the collateral damage."

Cornyn is aware that the CFPB has the ability to exempt credit unions from the one-size-fits-all regulations the Bureau applies to all financial institutions, including the bad actors. He says the CFPB must be held accountable.

He praised last year's regulatory achievement found in the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (otherwise known as S. 2155). He referred to new leadership in the House Financial Services Committee with Democratic Chair Maxine Waters. He said lawmakers need to work together for additional regulatory relief, despite differences and the polarization between parties.

Like most elected officials, the issue of cybersecurity, privacy, and protection is a big concern for Cornyn, especially the last election's Russian hackers. "Cyberattacks are ubiquitous now," Cornyn said.

The question of tech that intersects with the way Congress is organized defies dealing with cyber, Cornyn said. He wants to protect our civil liberties, and is looking at new ways of doing that, including the study of the European models. He noted with shock how much Americans are giving up with the terms of service for internet entities like Facebook.

The regulations for how businesses access and use people's data are subject to ongoing debate, he said, but legislators need to discuss all these things with businesses to be sure any new regulations don't inhibit free enterprise. He wants to avoid unintended consequences by ensuring "the medicine doesn't kill the patient."

Cornyn noted that wages are up by 3.4 percent and unemployment across the country is an average 3.8 percent. In Midland, Texas, the unemployment rate is an all-time low of 2.1 percent. Meanwhile, the country has added 5.3 million jobs since the 2016 election. Community financial institutions continue to play a role in that, he said.

"We're so grateful that Sen. John Cornyn could spend some time with our Texas contingent during our GAC Hill visits," said Cornerstone Credit Union League President/CEO Caroline Willard. "He was happy to see some friendly faces from home, and we were happy to see a lawmaker so friendly to credit unions. We will continue to seek Sen. Cornyn's support on credit union matters."