WASHINGTON (UPDATED: 2:45 P.M. ET, 11/28/11)--Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney today said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who earlier this afternoon announced he would not seek reelection for his House seat next November, "has been a friend to credit unions throughout his career" and "has always understood and appreciated the credit union difference, and the important role that credit unions play in the lives of their members."
Frank is a 16-term member of Congress, and is the former chair and current ranking member of the powerful House Financial Services Committee. As chairman of the Financial Services Committee, he was one of the architects of the Dodd-Frank Financial Regulatory Reform Act, which was the most sweeping financial reform package in decades. He ensured that language that exempted small institutions from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau oversight was included in this bill.
Massachusetts Credit Union League President/CEO Dan Egan said the Dodd-Frank Act "stands as a testament to Barney's commitment to the rights of consumers and his recognition of the fact that credit unions, as consumer-owned nonprofit cooperatives, are unique in the way that they provide for working class families in the U.S."
Frank was also instrumental in the enactment of the Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Act, the CARD Act fix, and also recently worked to address credit union concerns regarding interchange regulations, warning earlier this year that the implementation of those regulations, if not properly crafted, may have unintended consequences for credit unions and consumers.
"He used his position during the most difficult economic times in generations to ensure that credit unions were not adversely affected by the reforms aimed at the large for-profit financial companies that caused the financial crisis," Cheney added.
Frank noted several times before credit union audiences at CUNA's annual Governmental Affairs Conference and other events that if all financial entities had acted like credit unions act, the financial crisis might have been avoided.
The 71-year-old legislator in a Monday press conference said he had long planned to retire around this time. His district, the 4th district of Massachusetts, has also been redesigned, excising portions of the state that had long supported him and adding more conservative areas near his home base of Newton, Mass.