Bipartisan Commission is Essential to Ensuring CFPB Independence

A bipartisan commission leading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), as proposed by President Barack Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), is essential to preserving the CFPB’s independence, CUNA wrote to the Senate Banking Committee. CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger appeared before the committee Thursday for her semi-annual testimony.

Kraninger delivered the CFPB’s semi-annual report to Congress this week as required under the Dodd-Frank Act.

“To ensure that consumers enjoy strong and consistent protections, Congress should enact legislation that changes the leadership structure to a multimember, bipartisan commission. A multi-member commission, as envisioned by the original proponents of the Bureau, would enhance consumer protection by ensuring that diverse perspectives are considered prior to finalizing rules and prevents disruptions caused by leadership changes.

“Credit union members and other consumers would benefit from policymaking that includes more voices,” the letter adds.

CUNA’s letter also recommended the CFPB:

  • Closely monitor the impact its rules have had on credit unions and their members, and to appropriately tailor regulations to reduce burden or exempt credit unions entirely;
  • Use its statutory authority to grant appropriate exemptions from CFPB regulatory requirements;
  • Revise its short-term, small-dollar rule to ensure credit union participation in the market and to focus on abusers of consumers;
  • Substantially amend its remittances rule to make it more tailored to allow consumer access to desired products and services;
  • Consider additional amendments to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act reporting requirements to provide meaningful exemptions to credit unions;
  • Consider potential revisions to the Ability-to-Repay/Qualified Mortgage rule, which would include a “meaningful and prolonged feedback process;”
  • Issue a rulemaking that would clarify the CFPB’s Unfair, Deceptive or Abusive Acts or Practices approach, which CUNA believes is currently overly subjective;
  • Exempt credit unions from any potential rulemaking to require financial institutions to compile, maintain and submit certain data on small business credit applications;
  • Continue its engagement with the credit union industry through the Credit Union Advisory Council, roundtable discussions, webinars and other open communications;
  • Base its rulemakings on thorough data and research;
  • Provide compliance resources to the financial industry, including frequently asked questions with interpretations, webinars with opportunities for questions, annual outreach to stakeholders, among others; and
  • Work with CUNA, credit unions and the National Credit Union Foundation in its consumer education efforts and use those efforts to guide consumer choices and provide a foundation for solid consumer financial health.

CUNA sent a similar letter to the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday for its hearing featuring Kraninger’s testimony.