Financial Choice Act Passes House—now heads to Senate — 6/9/17

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 233-186 voted on June 8 to pass H.R. 10- the Financial CHOICE Act, a regulatory relief bill with several credit union-friendly provisions. West Virginia representatives David McKinley, Alex Mooney, and Evan Jenkins voted for the legislation which will curb much of the Dodd-Frank legislation in response to the 2008 financial crisis. Mooney serves on the House Financial Services Committee which crafted and passed the bill which made its way to the House for a final vote.

“On behalf of West Virginia’s credit unions, we have expressed our sincere thanks to all three of our Congressmen following passage of H.R. 10,” stated League Senior Vice President, Rich Schaffer. “Since the beginning of this year, credit unions, CUNA, and the League have been working to get regulatory relief passed so members can be served better,” he added. “We have seen first-hand that a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work.”

Some of the key CUNA and League backed provisions of the legislation include:

-Allowing qualifying credit unions (with an average leverage ratio of at least 10%) to be exempt from certain provisions of the Federal Credit Union Act and rules and regulation promulgated by NCUA;

-Changing the structure and authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This includes bringing the bureau under the appropriations process; establishing an independent inspector general, removing its Unfair, Deceptive and Abusive Acts authority; establishing an office of economic analysis; and repealing its authority to restrict arbitration;

-Providing relief from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act by increasing reporting requirement thresholds to 100 closed-end and 200 open-end mortgages;

-Adjusting the definition of “points and fees” under the Qualified Mortgage (QM) rule;

-Classifying loans held by financial institutions in portfolio as QM loans;

-Exempting mortgage loans made by financial institutions under $10 billion in assets and held in portfolio for 3 years from the Truth in Lending Act’s escrow requirements and exempting mortgage servicers that service fewer than 20,000 mortgages annually from the requirements of Section 6 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act;

-Requiring NCUA to allow examination and public comment of its budget before adoption and requiring more transparency regarding the overhead transfer rate;

-Reforming the examination process by creating an independent ombudsman and an independent appeals process;

-Protecting properly trained financial institution employees that report in good faith suspected financial elder abuse;

-Requiring CFPB and NCUA and other regulators to account for an entity’s size and risk when promulgating regulations;

-Prohibiting regulators from forcing a financial institution to close certain accounts for certain industries.

The Financial Choice Act now moves on to the Senate where the process starts all over again. There is no word when the Senate will consider H.R. 10.

Going forward, CUNA and the League ask that credit unions Contact your Senators and tell them to enact common-sense regulation. Ask your members to do the same using CUNA’s Member Activation Program messagingtemplates. Additionally, please tell Congress how new regulations have hindered your credit union's ability to serve your members with the new Campaign tool. These stories are crucial to educating Senators about how regulatory burden hurts main street financial institutions like credit unions.

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Source: CUNA