WASHINGTON (4/14/14)--As part of a coalition of small financial institutions--both credit unions and banks--the Credit Union National Association has urged improvements to proposed housing finance reform legislation that would address the unique needs of those institutions in the housing market.
The creation of the coalition enables CUNA, along with the National Association of Federal Credit Unions and the Independent Community Bankers of America, to present a united front on key changes needed in proposed housing finance reform legislation. The changes address:
- The bill's regulatory burden on credit unions and community banks;
- Issues to ensure that the housing finance market remains accessible to credit unions and other smaller institutions; and,
- Give credit unions, and community banks, representation in governance of the new federal entities envisioned under the proposal.
The letter is addressed to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and ranking member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and thanks the senators for introducing their Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act discussion draft.
The coalition letter notes that the current secondary market structure works well for credit unions and community banks and allows them to meet their borrowers' needs. It warns that restructuring the system is "unchartered and untested" territory and therefore raises numerous questions regarding fees and functionality when applied to the real-world marketplace.
"We understand some of the specific details of the proposal are still to be established and we hope those changes will satisfy our ongoing concerns and address the uncertainty faced by our member institutions," the letter notes.
"Any housing reform proposal must ensure equal and competitive access for community banks and credit unions, while avoiding further concentration of the primary and secondary mortgage markets to the largest of lenders and Wall Street firms," the three groups wrote.
They added, "We look forward to providing ongoing input on the concerns raised by community banks and credit unions as we continue to review and digest the evolving measures."
The letter was signed by CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney, ICBA President/CEO Camden Fine and NAFCU President/CEO B. Dan Berger.