McWatters Raises CU Priorities at Senate Hearing on S. 2155 Implementation

A number of credit union priorities were discussed during yesterday's Senate Banking Committee hearing on financial regulators' implementation of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155), including serving underserved communities, exam efficiency, cybersecurity and creating a faster, real-time payments system.

NCUA Chairman Mark McWatters was among the regulators that testified. In his opening statement he outlined the various provisions of S. 2155 that have benefitted credit unions and highlighted NCUA's work to become more efficient and reduce credit unions' regulatory burden.

Responding to a question from Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) he elaborated on a request made in his opening statement, for Congress to permit all credit unions to add underserved areas to their field of membership and provide NCUA with examination authority over certain third-party vendors.

"Credit unions want to serve the underserved … but there's a provision in the Federal Credit Union Act that says only multiple common bond credit unions can add underserved areas," McWatters said. "Since credit unions want to serve underserved areas, it would be great if the Federal Credit Union Act was amended to let credit unions do what they want to do. Credit unions aren't subject to the Community Reinvestment Act and one reason they're not subject to the CRA is that they absolutely want to extend credit to those individuals and businesses that the CRA would require them to."

Committee member Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) recently introduced a bill that would subject credit unions to the CRA. CUNA and the state leagues are actively opposing any efforts to bring credit unions under CRA.

McWatters also testified that NCUA should have the same authority as the other banking regulators when it comes to third-party vendor examination authority.

The archived video of the hearing is available here.