WASHINGTON (2/27/14)--Key House Financial Services Committee members are looking out for credit unions, and they detailed what they are doing to ensure credit unions are protected in remarks at Wednesday's Credit Union National Association 2014 Governmental Affairs Conference session.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), a senior committee member, thanked credit unions for stepping forward after recent financial and natural disasters that affected his city and his state. "I want to make sure the strength of credit unions is maintained going forward. I want to make sure you are still there to support the community," he said.
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), chairman of the House Financial Services subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit, said she will closely monitor the progress and impact of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's qualified mortgage rule. She said she is also working to get regulatory relief for credit unions through this Congress, and is organizing her subcommittee to address data security issues. The subcommittee will hold a hearing on liabilities and penalties related to data security issues next week, she noted.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said he would oppose any attack on the credit union tax status, noting that a tax on credit unions is a tax on 99 million credit union members. (CUNA Photo)
Another credit union priority, member business lending, was a hot topic for committee members, including Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.). Heck called on credit unions to make this the year that MBL legislation is passed into law.
"The engine of America is small business, and you can provide the fuel. We just have to let you do it," Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) said of the MBL situation. Sherman supports increased MBL and supplemental capital authority for credit unions, and said credit unions "are not asking for taxpayer money," but are just asking for the federal government to get out of the way and let them grow.
Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) also backed an MBL increase. "We need to do everything we can to get money in the hands of people who want to create jobs, and that's what member business lending is about. It's about creating jobs and supporting growth," he said. The two-term congressman also urged credit unions and CUNA to get even more engaged in the fight for data security. Credit unions can either be engaged on the issue and come out with something that works for them, or disengage and have new rules imposed on them, Stivers emphasized. Congress needs "to make sure credit unions are seeing their members, not just serving regulators," he added.
Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) also spoke up on the issue of regulatory relief. "You can count on me as we work through financial regulations, and getting rid of financial regulations that are not designed for you but designed for Wall Street firms. I stand with you each and every day," he said.
Less conventional topics were also discussed by Wednesday GAC speakers, such as Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) who said he is working with some in Congress to address legal, regulatory issues that prevent credit unions and other lenders from working with now-legal marijuana dispensaries in his state and Washington. He also addressed the ongoing discussions on housing finance market reforms. Credit unions and homeowners alike need to ensure that small financial institutions maintain access to the secondary mortgage market, he said.