The Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday voted to pass the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, much to the delight of credit unions.

Both major credit union trade associations celebrated the bill, known as S. 2155, moving out of committee. The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions and the Credit Union National Association have both backed the legislation, which includes several provisions that could offer CUs relief relating to the member business lending cap and certain Home Mortgage Disclosure Act disclosure requirements.

“Regulatory burden is a huge challenge for today's credit unions, and we appreciate Senate Banking Chairman [Mike] Crapo and the Democratic and Republican panel members who recognize this challenge,” Dan Berger, president and CEO of NAFCU, said in a statement. “Creating a positive regulatory and legislative environment that allows credit unions to succeed is a top priority of NAFCU. We look forward to continuing our work with the Senate on this bill and other transformative legislation.”

Jim Nussle, president and CEO of CUNA, said, “Advancing this bill through committee is a strong first step, but credit unions must remain engaged and keep up the momentum to get this bill to the finish line. We saw at the markup that the regulatory relief measures in this bill have strong bipartisan support, and CUNA will continue its advocacy push to help move this bill forward.”

NAFCU noted it supported several provisions in Title I of the package – which it said would provide credit unions with regulatory relief from various Truth in Lending Act and TILA/Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act integrated mortgage disclosure rule provisions.

Ahead of Tuesday’s mark-up, Carrie Hunt, NAFCU’s executive vice president of government affairs and general counsel, sent a letter to the committee in support of the measure. NAFCU also testified before the committee earlier this year, advocating the importance of regulatory relief for credit unions and the economic benefits credit unions offer.

CUNA said provisions that would offer regulatory relief for credit unions include exempting one-to-four unit, non-owner occupied residential loans from a credit union’s member business lending cap, freeing up to as much as $4 billion in additional capital credit unions could lend. Other credit union-favorable provisions include changes to mortgage servicing and lending rules, help protecting credit union employees who report suspected elder financial abuse and requiring the Treasury to study cyber risks.

From the “politics makes for strange bedfellows” department, the Independent Community Bankers of America also released a statement Tuesday thanking the Senate Banking Committee for “advancing bipartisan legislation to stimulate local economic growth by providing much-needed community bank regulatory relief.”

Tailored approach

CUNA said many members of the Senate committee specifically noted the bill’s tailored approach to credit unions and other community financial institutions.

“This bill is a good first step in the right direction, common-sense regulatory reform for small and mid-size community banks and credit unions,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.). “Community banks and credit unions, it has been said repeatedly, did not cause the crisis, and a one-size-fits-all rules package is not what we need.”

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said the winners of this bill are “consumers who have been caught in the crossfire of more protection, but less access [to financial services].”

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), said the bill makes “appropriate” changes to the Dodd-Frank Act without undermining it. “I think the basic tenets of Dodd-Frank will stand test of time. But after seven years, it needs some revisions,” he said. “I believe what we are doing here is an effort to help Main Street by rolling back regulations on community banks, credit unions and some regional banks.”

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