WASHINGTON (12/8/09)--The regulatory restructuring debate returns to Washington this week, beginning what Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said “could be the most intense fortnight of legislative activity related to credit unions in several years.” H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which combines a total of seven financial regulatory reform and restructuring bills, is the largest item on the docket. The legislative items that have been included in this bill address Financial Stability Improvements, Over-the-Counter Derivatives Markets, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, Capital Markets Improvements, and the Federal Office of Insurance, and have been approved by the House. A pair of remaining bills, H.R. 1728, the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act, and H.R. 3269, the Corporate and Financial Institution Compensation Fairness Act, were also previously approved by the House of Representatives. CUNA has worked with legislators to address credit union concerns, gaining legislative approval of an amendment that protects the majority of credit unions from paying into a too-big-to-fail dissolution fund. CUNA has addressed or is working to address concerns regarding the examination and enforcement of consumer protection regulation for credit unions, agency funding mechanisms, plain vanilla product requirements, regulation of the Community Reinvestment Act, credit union representation within the agency, and regulatory consolidation within the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) reportedly expects a minimum of ten amendments, one of which would increase the CFPA examination and enforcement threshold to $10 billion for credit unions, and a full list of the amendments will be available after the House Rules Committee meets today. While amendments addressing overdraft protection and interchange fees are not expected during debate on the regulatory restructuring bill, CUNA is on the lookout for a potential mortgage bankruptcy "cramdown" amendment, and would strongly oppose this amendment if it is introduced. The House will also consider the Tax Extenders Act of 2009 on Wednesday, and the Obama administration this week is also expected to join key members of Congress to release a jobs creation bill. Legislation addressing member business lending, as recently suggested by Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Penn.), also could be included in that bill. CUNA believes that this employment legislation could be brought up in the House next week. A number of hearings are scheduled to take place during the week, including:
*A House Financial Services Committee hearing entitled "The Private Sector and Government Response to the Mortgage Foreclosure Crisis;" *A Senate Judiciary Committee hearing entitled "Mortgage Fraud, Securities Fraud, and the Financial Meltdown: Prosecuting Those Responsible;" *A Senate Banking Committee hearing entitled "Weathering the Storm: Creating Jobs in the Recession;" and *A House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law hearing entitled "Home Foreclosures: Will Voluntary Mortgage Modifications Help Families Save Their Homes? Part II."