WASHINGTON (3/22/12)--While Wednesday was Rep. Barney Frank's (D-Mass.) final Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) appearance as a member of the U.S. Congress, he said it would not be his last work with credit unions.
Frank noted the important role that credit unions have played in this country, and said credit unions have been one of the most important finance industry forces influencing members of Congress due to their deep roots in every community nationwide.
Commenting on the landmark financial reform legislation that bears his name, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Frank said: "If every financial institution had behaved the way credit unions do, I suppose I'd be a lot less famous, because there wouldn't have been a Dodd-Frank bill."
Due to that legislation, he said, unregulated financial institutions such as remittance providers, payday lenders, and other firms are now subject to the same regulations that credit unions follow, and many anti-consumer practices of large banks have been restricted.
Frank said he would feel the legislation has been successful if these changes help credit unions to expand the base of the people they serve.
Frank did oppose debit card interchange fee legislation that was ultimately added to the Dodd-Frank legislation, and noted that addressing interchange fees was irrelevant to the mission of his financial reform legislation and has not helped consumers.
He challenged retailers, who were the main proponents of the interchange fee cap, to show how the change has benefitted consumers.
CUNA GAC sessions wrapped up Wednesday, but the GAC effort continues today with additional visits by credit union representatives with their federal lawmakers on key credit union issues.