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Bank, credit union trades urge Congress to change CFPB structure

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The Credit Union National Association, National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions and more than 20 other financial trade groups have sent a joint letter to Congress urging lawmakers to enact legislation to change the leadership structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

CUNA and NAFCU were joined by the American Bankers Association, Independent Community Bankers of America, Mortgage Bankers Association, Electronic Funds Transfer Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and more. The trades urged Congress to pass the Financial Product Safety Commission Act of 2018 (H.R. 5266), which would change the CFPB’s governance structure from a sole director to a five-person commission.

Citing the uncertainty that financial institutions experienced during the transition from the Obama administration to the Trump administration and the appointment of Mick Mulvaney as the bureau’s acting director, the trades argued that “[d]ramatic shifts in the CFPB’s philosophy and approach with each change in presidential administration make it difficult for lenders and small businesses to plan for the future.”

In the letter, the trades also noted that similar legislation for a CFPB commission has passed the House Financial Services Committee six times and the U.S. House of Representatives four times, and that the version of the Dodd-Frank Act the House passed in 2009 included a provision establishing a five-member commission.

When President Trump appointed Mulvaney as acting director, the departing director, Richard Cordray, appointed deputy director Leandra English as interim director. Both English and New York-based Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union sued to also block the Mulvaney appointment, arguing that the language in the Dodd-Frank Act made it clear that a deputy director could be named director of the agency. LESPFCU argued that Mulvaney’s appointment threw the financial industry into “regulatory chaos.”

“This uncertainty is not only borne by financial institutions providing significant lending services, but it negatively impacts America’s consumers, small businesses, and our local economies,” the trades argued in their joint letter.

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