Blog

Posted by Staff on December 18, 2015
Subcommittee Questions CFPB's Consumer Data Collection Practice

On Wednesday the Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing to find answers regarding the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) collection of consumer data.

Subcommittee Chairman Sean Duffy (R-WI) warned, "We don’t know – and the American people don’t know – how much personally identifiable information the CFPB retains, how that data is protected and what the Bureau plans to do with all that data."

The American Banker reported on Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick's (R-PA) concerns regarding ongoing data breaches and the vulnerability of consumer data at the hands of the CFPB. "Increasingly our cyber infrastructure and private records are becoming the target of both state and non-state actors alike."

"For these reasons it is alarming that any organization… would collect any consumer data and store it in a single location like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau does," continued Rep. Fitzpatrick.

The Hill quoted Rep. Mia Love's (R-UT) concern over lawmakers' casual treatment of data collection in its coverage of the hearing"It is absolutely shocking to me the level of regulatory power these agencies have over the American people," she said.


Chairman Hensarling Continues Call for Transparency at the Fed

Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) responded to the Federal Reserve's interest rate hike with a continued call for more transparency at the Federal Reserve.

"The real question isn’t whether the Fed should be raising interest rates or lowering interest rates; it’s whether the Fed is giving our economy sustainable interest rates. Getting back to sustainable, market-based interest rates is better for consumers, investors and our economy overall. Unsustainably low interest rates clearly didn’t solve the problem or else Americans today wouldn’t be stuck in the slowest, worst-performing economic recovery of our lifetimes," remarked Chairman Hensarling.

The House of Representatives passed the Fed Oversight Reform and Modernization Act (FORM Act), sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) on November 19. The FORM Act would require the Federal Reserve to choose a monetary policy and communicate it to the American people. The FORM Act does not infringe on the Federal Reserve's independence to choose its monetary policy, but simply sheds light on its decision-making.

"The FORM Act will help expand economic opportunity because consumers, job creators and investors will all have more confidence in making financial plans. The more Americans can understand how the Fed will act, the better they can plan for the future," added Chairman Hensarling.

For more infomation on H.R. 3189, the FORM Act, click here.

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Rep. Scott Tipton | Tipton questions agency’s handling of personal data

Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, a member of the committee, questioned the witnesses about the claim that the CFPB did not collect any personal identifying information that could be compromised by pointing out that the agency collects identifying markers from consumers such as gender, age and ethnicity.

Weekend Must Reads


Boston Globe | New regulations: headache for bankers, boon for bank lawyers

Talk to a community banker about the Dodd-Frank law and all the rules out of Washington as a result, and you’re bound to hear about the headaches. But the new rules have been a boon for these banks’ lawyers, the ones who are behind the scenes, assembling community bank mergers.

Wall Street Journal | The Fed’s Uncertain Leap Forward

Some uncertainty about future monetary policy is inevitable. The Fed has greatly added to that uncertainty by its decision to employ forward guidance rather than to follow a monetary rule. Unlike a rule, forward guidance reflects the thinking of policy makers today but does not bind them to action tomorrow. We have seen that play out through 2015. The chief effect of Wednesday’s action and accompanying statement is to once again increase uncertainty in financial markets.

Morning Consult | The U.S. Department of Labor’s Misguided ‘Fiduciary’ Rule

Both Democratic and Republican legislators have expressed concerns about proposed regulations from the Obama administration that will change the way Americans receive financial advice. The effect of these rules, if enacted as written, will be negative for savers in Northern Virginia as well as in the rest of the nation. They will disrupt an individual’s ability to access advice during the process of investment and retirement planning.

 
  On the Horizon 

Stay tuned!

  In the News

American Banker | Republicans Hammer CFPB Over Data Collection Efforts

Washington Examiner | Gingrich goes after consumer data collection

The Hill | Gingrich slams consumer protection panel's data collection

Morning Consult | Newt Gingrich Brings Fireworks and Intrigue to CFPB Hearing

Wall Street Journal | Republicans Push Proposal to Let Banks Get Back Money From Fed

Politico Pro | Republicans gather support for Fed dividend change in omnibus

DSNews | Do the CFPB’s Massive Data Collection Efforts Pose a Threat to Americans?

New York Times | Fed Raises Key Interest Rate for First Time in Almost a Decade

HousingWire | Moody’s: TRID Violations Found in 90% of Recently Reviewed Mortgages

Posted by on December 17, 2015



Unsustainably low rates didn’t solve the problem.   

If they had, Americans wouldn’t be stuck in the slowest, worst-performing economic recovery of our lifetimes.  Too many people are trapped in part-time work and more Americans than ever before have left the workforce all together. We can and must do better. 


We need economically sustainable rates.

The real question isn’t whether the Fed should be raising interest rates or lowering interest rates; it’s whether the rates are economically sustainable. Market-based interest rates are better for consumers, investors and our economy overall.


A more predictable Fed would mean a stronger economy. 

When the American market is whipped into a frenzy over whether or not the Fed will act, it hurts real Americans on Main Street. Fortunately, the House has passed a bipartisan measure to make the Fed more transparent and accountable than ever before. The Fed Oversight Reform and Modernization Act would expand opportunity by providing consumers, job creators and investors more confidence in making financial plans.  









Posted by Staff on December 11, 2015
Committee Passes Bipartisan Bills Aimed at Economic Growth and Consumer Protection

The Financial Services Committee on Wednesday approved several bipartisan bills designed to protect consumers, grow the economy and strengthen government transparency.

The committee also voted to extend the Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing so it can continue examining how the U.S. can improve its ability to stem the flow of terrorist financing.

Chairman Jeb Hensarling remarked, "I am proud that the Financial Services Committee continues to pass bipartisan legislation, all focused on the priorities of the American people. These bills can make a positive difference in people’s lives and help build a healthier economy with more opportunities for all. In addition, our Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing will continue its important work to fight the financial war against terrorists."

To view the list of bills that passed, click here.

Committee Questions FSOC Members on "Too Big to Fail" and Lack of Transparency

The Committee also held an oversight hearing Wednesday on the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC). Eight of FSOC’s 10 voting members appeared as witnesses.

Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said in his opening statement, "FSOC typifies not only the shadow regulatory system but also the unfair Washington system that Americans have come to fear and loathe: powerful government administrators, secretive government meetings, arbitrary rules, and unchecked power to punish or reward. Thus, oversight and reform is paramount."

In its coverage of the hearing, Reuters reported that Republicans on the Committee criticized FSOC for being “secretive and unwilling to share information.”  The American Banker reported that FSOC members “found themselves on the defensive that they were keeping lawmakers and the public in the dark about their activities.”

"You need to become more like us -- more transparent, more open to the American public," Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) advised the witnesses.

"'Do you know that this body gets intelligence briefings from the FBI in regards to ISIS and terrorist attacks?” asked Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI). “I would argue that American lives are in danger by these radical extremists. So we can get FBI briefings, but you won't give us briefings on the analysis that has gone into designation of certain companies in America?"

In addition to concerns about FSOC’s lack of transparency, Committee members “zeroed in on why insurance companies should have been designated” as SIFIs when FSOC’s independent insurance expert dissented in the decisions to designate Prudential and MetLife, reported the American Banker.

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Rep. Frank Guinta | VIDEO: Guinta Bill Rebukes CFPB to Restore Discounts to Car Buyers

New Hampshire Republican Rep. Frank Guinta (R.-N.H) sponsored a bill that would restore the ability of car dealers to offer discounts to car buyers out of the commission they earn from financing the purchase. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau banned the practice, claiming their was a potential for discrimination.

Weekend Must Reads


Charlotte Observer | Number of community banks keeps falling

Nationwide, the number of traditional banks fell by more than 800 from 2007 through 2013. Most of that decrease was due to the dwindling number of community banks. As community banks consolidate, more market share is being concentrated in the hands of the nation’s biggest banks.

Wall Street Journal | Shouting ‘Racism’ Is a Career Move

A House Financial Services Committee investigation last week does a good job exposing the multiple dishonesties behind the CFPB’s crackdown on supposedly racist auto loans. The story’s most troubling aspect, though, is that Congress, not the press, took the lead in exposing it.

Detroit News | Dodd-Frank slows small business growth

Loans to small businesses are off sharply, down 38 percent since before the passage of the Dodd-Frank bill, which added layers of regulations on the financial industry.

Wall Street Journal | The Consumer Bureau Cover-Up

The Republican staff of the House Financial Services Committee has released a trove of documents showing that CFPB officials knew their information was flawed and even deliberated on ways to prevent people outside the bureau from learning how flawed it was.

Investor's Business Daily |
Hillary Clinton Doubles Down on Dodd-Frank’s Failure

Clinton crows that her re-regulation plan has already won the “praise” of people like former Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank. What a persuasive endorsement. Frank, the former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, announced on the eve of the crisis that he wanted to “roll the dice” on the housing market – which he did, losing bundles of taxpayer money. 

    On the Horizon 

December 16, 2015 10:30 a.m.
Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Hearing

"Examining the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Mass Data Collection Program"

  In the News

Washington Examiner | GOP Will Offer Banking Reform Plan to Counter Obama’s

Reuters | Republicans slam U.S. financial stability council as secretive

Wall Street Journal | Hearing Brings New Test for the Financial Stability Oversight Council

American Banker | FSOC Dangerously Secretive, Lawmakers Charge

The Hill | GOP airs gripes to financial oversight panel

Politico Pro | FSOC's insurance member wants Dodd-Frank changes

Politico Pro | Woodall in hot seat at FSOC hearing

The Hill | GOP airs gripes to financial oversight panel

Morning Consult | Republicans Say Financial Regulators Are Unresponsive

Politico Pro | Financial Services Committee approves data security, public housing, investment reform bills

Morning Consult | Top Finance Regulators Brace for Financial Services Showdown

Bloomberg | House Panel Approves Measure Easing Small Bank Debt Issuance

American Banker | House Panel Approves Data Security and Condo Bills

Posted by Staff on December 04, 2015
House Passes Hensarling's Amendment Including 15 Bipartisan Financial Services Bills

On Thursday the House of Representatives passed a five-year highway bill that includes Chairman Jeb Hensarling's (R-TX) amendment of 15 bipartisan financial services bills. These bills have all previously passed the House as stand-alone measures with strong bipartisan support.

Chairman Hensarling remarked on the passage of his amendment, "It is very difficult to come by bipartisan bills, but I am proud to say that the House Financial Services Committee has passed numerous pieces of bipartisan legislation. They are modest because they are bipartisan, but they are important and can make a difference in people’s lives."

To view the bills that passed, click here.

Subcommittee Discusses Legislation to Promote U.S. Capital Markets and Protect Due Process Rights


The Financial Services Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee held a hearing on Wednesday to continue the Committee's work on promoting Main Street small businesses.

The committee reviewed five legislative proposals to help facilitate capital formation in U.S. markets and to ensure that defendants' rights are protected when dealing with a Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement case.

"Four of these bills would build upon the success of the 2012 JOBS Act by lowering barriers to capital formation for small and growing businesses," said Subcommittee Chairman Scott Garrett (R-NJ) said in his opening statement. "The 5th bill [...] would allow defendants in litigated SEC enforcement cases to have their case removed to a federal district court, thereby availing themselves of the due process protections under Article III of our Constitution and relevant federal law."

Chairman Garrett expressed concern that “In recent years, the SEC has transformed itself into a veritable judge, jury and executioner as it has brought more and more enforcement cases before its in-house tribunal, where they are heard by administrative law judges, who are themselves employees of the SEC," Bloomberg reported.

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Rep. Bill Huizenga | Reform bill would make Federal Reserve accountable

Today, the Federal Reserve has an unprecedented level of influence and control over the financial system, and despite this unbridled concentration of power the Fed has failed to accurately predict and respond to changing economic conditions. Because of these shortcomings, nearly every generation of hardworking Americans, since the Fed’s creation, has suffered through a financial crisis. No bureaucracy, especially one with as poor a record as the Fed, should be allowed to go unchecked.

Weekend Must Reads


Washington Examiner | Report: Less than 1 percent of all Obama regs tested for costs

The administration frequently says that new rules have positive net benefits, but CEI's vice president for policy, Clyde Wayne Crews Jr., explained that most of the rules are never subjected to a cost analysis, raising concerns that politics is at play.

Investor's Business Daily | Obama Regulators Inflate Consumers' Bank Complaints

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau documents reveal the out-of-control agency is larding a first-of-its-kind national Consumer Complaint Database with bogus accusations against financial lenders.

U.S. News | Take Away the CFPB's Keys

In a stunning rebuke to the president who created the CFPB, 88 House Democrats voted in favor of the change and to clip the agency's wings just a bit. The bill is now headed to the Senate where, one hopes, it will pass and go to Obama's desk and be signed into law. If you want to argue discrimination, you should have to prove actual discrimination – not just submit a statistical model that is vulnerable to the "garbage in, garbage out" defect. Hopefully other regulatory agencies will get the message.

    On the Horizon 

December 8, 2015 10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Hearing

"Oversight of the Financial Stability Oversight Council"

December 8, 2015  2:00 p.m.
Full Committee Markup

"Markup of HR 2187, HR 2205, HR 2287, HR 3700, HR 3784, HR 3791, HR 4168, and the Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing Resolution of 2016"

  In the News

Wall Street Journal | Consumer Watchdog Pushed Discrimination Case on Vulnerable Firm: Report

New York Times | Consumer Bureau Faulted on Auto Lending Inquiry

American Banker | House GOP Accuses CFPB of Improper Auto Lending Crackdown

Washington Examiner | GOP says feds using 'junk science' to attack auto dealers

Politico Pro | House Republicans slam CFPB's auto-lending enforcement

American Banker | CFPB Critics See Glimmer of Hope in Auto Lending Bill

Bloomberg | CFPB Unconstitutional, House Panel Chair Tells Court

Bloomberg | Lawmakers, Others Question SEC In-House Court

Wall Street Journal | Former Official Says SEC Beset by ‘Crisis of Confidence’ Over In-House Judges

Wall Street Journal | SEC Faces `Crisis of Confidence’ Over In-House Court, Ex-Official Says

Posted by Staff on November 20, 2015
House Passes Federal Reserve Transparency and Consumer Protection Bills

This week the House of Representatives passed seven bipartisan Financial Services Committee bills, including bills to make the Federal Reserve more transparent and accountable and to protect consumers from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) harmful regulatory actions.

The Fed Oversight Reform and Modernization (FORM) Act, H.R. 3189 sponsored by Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Bill Huizenga (R-MI), requires the central bank’s monetary policy to be clear and credible, and its regulatory actions to be subject to the rule of law and public scrutiny. H.R. 3189 passed the House on Thursday by a vote of 241-185.

"Reform, accountability, and transparency on one hand; and independence and conduct of monetary policy on the other, are not mutually exclusive concepts," Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) stated on the House floor.

“By passing the FORM Act, the House has taken a strong step forward in restoring accountability and transparency at the Federal Reserve,” said Chairman Huizenga. “The FORM Act provides the Fed with the flexibility necessary to conduct monetary policy but holds the Fed accountable by requiring it to communicate its policy to Congress and the American people.”

The House on Wednesday passed the Reforming CFPB Indirect Auto Financing Guidance Act, H.R. 1737, sponsored by Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NJ), and the Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act, H.R. 1210, sponsored by Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY).

H.R. 1737 passed the House with a veto-proof margin of 332-96. The bill rescinds the CFPB’s flawed guidance relating to indirect auto lending, which was done without public notice and comment and will result in higher costs for consumers buying cars and trucks.

H.R. 1210 reforms the CFPB’s Qualified Mortgage rule to help more credit-worthy homebuyers to get a mortgage. The bill allows banks and credit unions to hold mortgages in portfolio – retaining 100 percent of the risk – to satisfy the requirements of the QM rule. The bill passed 255-174.

The House also passed four bipartisan bills by voice vote: H.R. 1317 sponsored by Reps. Gwen Moore (D-WI) and Steve Stivers (R-OH); H.R. 3032 sponsored by Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Robert Hurt (R-VA); H.R. 1478 sponsored by Reps. Bill Posey (R-FL) and Brad Sherman (D-CA); and the Senate companion bill to H.R. 2243 sponsored by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA).

To view more information about all of the financial services bills that passed the House this week, click here.

Subcommittee Examines Impact of Dodd-Frank's Conflict Minerals Reporting


On Tuesday, the Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee held a hearing to examine the Dodd-Frank Act's impact on conflict minerals reporting in the five years since Dodd-Frank became law. Conflict minerals reporting is under the purview of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and mandates public companies to disclose whether they source “conflict minerals" from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and its nine neighboring countries.

The Wall Street Journal reported Subcommittee Chairman Huizenga's concern that Dodd-Frank's conflict mineral rule is harming the people it intended to help.

"As we all know, the SEC has little or no experience in crafting trade sanctions or articulating and enforcing human rights policy, two areas which have not traditionally been within the purview of securities regulation. SEC Chair Mary Jo White has also questioned the SEC’s ability to promulgate rules governing the African minerals trade and whether SEC disclosure powers are best used to meet address societal ills," he said.

Evode Imena, the Minister of Mines for the Republic of Rwanda, was quoted by Bloomberg as testifying that The 10 countries covered by the conflict minerals reporting have “divergent interests and different needs” but are “put in the same box under the current enforcement regime,” which is unfair and not good for foreign companies hoping to do business in Rwanda.

Committee Examines SEC's Operations and Budget Request

The Financial Services Committee held a hearing on Wednesday to review the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) agenda, operations and budget request for fiscal year 2017.

Chairman Hensarling remarked in his opening statement, "This Committee is committed to conducting vigorous oversight of the SEC because the SEC’s three-part mission is an important one as Americans continue to struggle through an economy that is under-performing. It is on their behalf that this Committee acts to ensure the SEC protects investors, maintains fair, orderly and efficient markets, and promotes capital formation – key ingredients in growing a healthy economy with more opportunity for all."

Rep. Robert Hurt (R-VA) expressed the need for effective use of funding by the agency in fulfilling its mission.

"At a time when our national debt is $18 trillion and rising by the second, federal agencies must learn to work smarter and more efficiently, just as hardworking American families have learned to do," said Rep.Hurt.

Subcommittee Calls for Due Process and Transparency at FSOC

The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing on Thursday calling for due process and transparency in the SIFI designations of non-bank financial companies by the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC).

"Dodd-Frank rewarded the very regulators that missed the warning signs leading up to the 2008 financial crisis with additional power and responsibility with the creation of the FSOC. By design, the FSOC was intended to facilitate dialogue amongst federal financial regulators," said Subcommittee Chairman Sean Duffy (R-WI) in his opening statement. "Moreover, the FSOC and its actions are riddled with opacity and unaccountability, despite continued requests for information from Congress."

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Rep. Andy Barr | Barr's Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act passed by the House

The House of Representatives Wednesday passed H.R. 1210, the Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act introduced by Congressman Andy Barr (KY-6) in a bipartisan vote of 255 to 174, according to a release.

Weekend Must Reads


Wall Street Journal | Reining in a Sprawling Federal Reserve

Since the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has morphed into a government institution whose unconventional activities and vastly expanded powers would scarcely be recognized by drafters of the original legislation that created it. Regrettably, commensurate transparency and accountability have not followed.

The Hill
| H.R. 1737 will create transparency at the CFPB and maintain affordable auto credit

Discrimination is wrong, period. And fair credit is critical for consumers everywhere. But so is their ability to get the most competitive rates out there for their cars and trucks. H.R. 1737 and the automobile compliance program would ensure fair access to credit for everyone, while preserving a consumer’s ability to get discounted interest rates and competitive credit.

American Banker | Why That Orwellian Anti-CFPB Ad Worked

Enter "Denied," our provocative TV ad about the CFPB. CFPB sounds like alphabet soup to most consumers. Yet the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is one of the most powerful and unaccountable government agencies in Washington. This is a fact we believe voters deserve to know.

Wall Street Journal | Democrats vs. Bureaucrats

On Wednesday the House is expected to vote down the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s extralegal campaign against the nation’s auto dealers. This is an important moment. Even Democrats are beginning to push back against the regulatory agenda crafted by President Obama and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Let’s hope the dissident donkeys survive the experience.

    On the Horizon 

Stay tuned!

  In the News

Associated Press | House Approves GOP-led Bill to Boost Fed Oversight

Detroit News | House passes Huizenga bill to increase Fed oversight


The Hill | House passes bill to overhaul the Fed

Sunshine State News | House Passes Bill Posey's Bill Ensuring Insurance Policies Aren't Used on Bailouts

OC Register | Bill on Obama's desk overrides pay hike for CEOs of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Wall Street Journal | House Subcommittee Testimony Calls Conflict Minerals Rule a Failure

Bloomberg | SEC Conflict Minerals Rule Unfair, Rwanda Minister Says

Reuters | White House threatens veto of rule-based monetary policy bill

Politico Pro | Shareholder activism ‘holy war’ arrives on Capitol Hill

Morning Consult | SEC Chair Tamps Down Expectations on Investment Advice Rule

The Hill | House votes to roll back mortgage rules

HousingWire | House votes to revamp Qualified Mortgage rules

Posted by Staff on November 06, 2015
Committee Passes Bills to Make Financial Regulators Accountable to Hardworking Taxpayers 

On Wednesday, the Financial Services Committee passed oversight bills to bring greater accountability and transparency to the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) and its research arm, the Office of Financial Research (OFR).

Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) remarked, "Dodd-Frank increases the power and control that largely unaccountable Washington bureaucrats have over our economy. The results have left hardworking taxpayers with fewer choices, higher costs and an anemic economy of shrinking paychecks. The reform bills approved by the committee today will help build a healthier economy for all Americans and put in place needed transparency, accountability and checks and balances on powerful bureaucracies."

Members lamented the lethargic economic recovery, calling for more accountability and transparency for government bureaucrats whose decisions have immense impact on our country's economy and financial system.

"We're seeing pockets of prosperity in the country. But here's the reality for the rest of America: lowest labor participation rate in 40 years. For the first time since we've been keeping records, there are more small businesses shutting down than there are new business startups," said Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO).

House Approves Bipartisan Financial Services Amendments to Transportation Bill

Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) successfully attached a package of 15 bipartisan financial services bills to the transportation bill approved by the House this week. The 15 bills had previously passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support.

“People are still hurting in this economy. We need to do everything we can to promote economic growth. It is very difficult to come by bipartisan bills, but I am proud to say that in the House Financial Services Committee we have passed numerous pieces of bipartisan legislation. They are modest because they are bipartisan, but they are important and can make a difference in people’s lives,” said Chairman Hensarling.

The list of 15 bills included in the amendment can be viewed here.

In addition, the House voted for an amendment sponsored by Reps. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) and Bill Huizenga (R-MI) to draw down the Federal Reserve’s surplus account as an offset for new highway spending. The Neugebauer-Huizenga amendment replaced a controversial funding method approved by the Senate that would reduce the dividend the Fed’s regional reserve banks pay on stock that private-sector banks are required to hold as members of the Federal Reserve system.

“Moving forward with the Federal Reserve dividend reduction without studying it could have devastating consequences for the supervision of the financial sector and the stability of the Federal Reserve System,” Rep. Neugebauer said during debate on the amendment. “The costs that banks—especially community banks—could face as a result of the dividend reduction would be passed on to hardworking consumers. At a time when many Americans continue to struggle from the unintended consequences of Dodd-Frank, it would be dangerous and irresponsible to move forward with the Senate version.”

The amendment also struck from the Senate-passed bill a proposal to increase the fee that mortgage borrowers must pay on loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “Allowing Congress to continue to raise the g-fees will make comprehensive housing finance reform impossible,” Rep. Neugebauer said.


Committee Calls for Accountability and Transparency from the Federal Reserve

The Financial Services Committee held a hearing on Wednesday with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as a witness in the place of the Federal Reserve’s Vice Chair for Supervision, a position that President Obama has yet to fill.

Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) warned in his opening statement, "Combining the Fed’s lack of transparency with its all-encompassing new regulatory authority under Dodd-Frank is a dangerous mix. It is a threat to economic growth, not to mention the principles of due process, checks and balances, and the rule of law. If we are not careful, our central bankers will soon become our central planners."

Members stressed their concern that President Obama has neglected to appoint a Vice Chair for Supervision as required by the Dodd-Frank Act and the consequences of the vacancy in the Federal Reserve's ability to provide balanced supervision and regulation of the financial system.

"Over the past five years, banks of all sizes – and particularly our community banks -- have struggled to deal with the extraordinary costs of increased bank supervision by the Federal Reserve. In light of the importance of implementing a balanced and tailored supervision regime that recognizes that one size does not fit all, it is remarkable that the President continues to fail to follow the law he championed and that the President continues to deprive the Congress of participating in the appointment of this important position,” said Rep. Robert Hurt (R-VA).

Subcommittee Examines Housing Needs in New Orleans, 10 Years After Katrina

On Friday, the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee held a hearing in New Orleans to examine the ongoing response – at the local, state and federal government levels – to the housing needs of residents affected by Hurricane Katrina.

"We have representatives on today’s panel who lead groups that were some of the first responders in the post-Katrina housing crisis. In places where the state or federal government was slow to help, they were there, working to physically and emotionally rebuild their communities. That they continue their work 10 years later is both a testament to their strength and an indication of the need to examine the process for delivering housing assistance in the wake of disasters," said Subcommittee Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) in his opening statement.

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Rep. French Hill | Why Obama must work with the House

I recently learned first-hand how difficult dealing with this Administration can be. When I introduced H.R. 3192, the Homebuyers Assistance Act, with the support of original co-sponsor Rep. Brad Sherman, California Democrat, I never imagined a minor technical fix to a complex issue would receive an official veto threat from the White House. But it did.

Weekend Must Reads


Forbes | Feds Just Can't Allow People To Save And Invest

Last week, the U.S. House passed Rep. Ann Wagner’s (R-Mo.) bill to block the DOL’s fiduciary rule. But without similar action in the U.S. Senate, the federal government will impose the DOL’s overly complex regulations, and average citizens will likely end up with fewer investment options.

Bloomberg Business | Bond Liquidity Seen Worsening by BofA as Regulations Tighten

Dwindling liquidity in bond markets may get worse next year as more regulation hits the financial industry, raising questions as to whether rules are making financial markets safer, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said.

Investor's Business Daily | Most transparent administration in history closes more meetings than ever

But wait! That would mean the current administration can't possibly be the most transparent administration in history. And that, in turn, means that Barack Obama has been wrong every time he made that claim. We need a Federal Advisory Committee to explain how that could be?

    On the Horizon 

Stay tuned!

  In the News

Washington Post | Lawmakers grill Fed chair on oversight of financial system during contentious hearing

Bloomberg | Yellen Says U.S. Banks Still Have Risk-Management Challenges

Financial Times | Fed chief Janet Yellen bullish on US economy

The Hill | Yellen: December rate hike a 'live possibility'

Wall Street Journal | Janet Yellen Turns Over Documents to House Panel Investigating 2012 Leak

Bloomberg | Yellen Shares Leak Probe Documents After Lawmakers’ Demands

Wall Street Journal | Lawmakers Get Extra Chance to Question Yellen at Hearing Wednesday

Washington Post | These confidential documents will haunt Janet Yellen’s testimony on the Hill

American Banker | Fight Over $50B Asset Cutoff Revived in House

Politico Pro | Democrats split on how to help regional banks

Politico Pro | Freddie Mac loss raises warnings of another bailout

American Banker | Freddie Mac's $500M Loss Puts It on Defensive

Wall Street Journal | Freddie Mac Swings to Loss

American Banker | Hensarling Tries to Add Small Bank Legislation Into Highway Bill

Reuters | Fed's Yellen sees possible December rate rise, gradual hiking path

Posted by Staff on October 30, 2015
House Passes Bill to Protect Low and Middle-Income Savers

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1090, the Retail Investor Protection Act sponsored by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), on Tuesday by a bipartisan vote of 245-186. This bill was designed to put a stop to the Department of Labor's (DOL) proposed fiduciary rule that would make professional retirement investment advice for low and middle-income Americans inaccessible and unaffordable.

There is a strong bipartisan agreement that the DOL's misguided fiduciary rule would make it more difficult for hard-working Americans to save for their retirements and obtain their portion of the American Dream.

“The fiduciary rule will take away investment advice from hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of low and moderate income people all around the nation who rely upon this advice to save for retirement,” remarked Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) on the House floor.

Rep. Wagner said, “My constituents are tired of Washington bureaucrats telling them what food their families should eat, where they should turn for health care and, now, how they should save for retirement. I for one refuse to stand by and let this Administration advance another regulation that ultimately takes away our freedoms. The burdensome 1,000 page rule offered by the Department of Labor would do just that, increasing costs for Missouri families and reducing access to sound financial advice. I was proud to lead in this bipartisan fight to protect investors and I am hopeful that the U.S. Senate will join us in our efforts to block this onerous rule.”

House Passes State Licensing Efficiency Bill

The House of Representatives passed by voice vote H.R. 2643, the State Licensing Efficiency Act of 2015, sponsored by Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX). The bill will expand the ability of states to use a federally accepted registry, the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System, to expedite background checks for licensing purposes. The bill passed the committee by a unanimous vote of 57-0 on July 29.

“This bill is part of my larger goal in letting the states pick up where the federal government falls short,” said Rep. Williams when he introduced the bill. “The current background check process is inefficient, but this registry has a proven track record of being effective while also reducing regulatory burden.”

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Rep. Ann Wagner | House passes bill to halt DOL’s fiduciary rule

“Unfortunately, this rule-making from the Department of Labor could potentially cut access, limit choice and raise costs for that kind of financial advice, putting the goal of retirement even further out of reach,” Wagner said.

Weekend Must Reads


Wall Street Journal | Much Ado About the Fed’s Nothing

Chair Janet Yellen and other members keep saying that it will soon be time to move, but each time as the date approaches they find another reason not to move. Perhaps they’re afraid of taking responsibility for the consequences of raising rates if the economy turns south. At least if they stay at zero the Fed won’t be blamed for having done nothing. If column inches are a guide, all of this uncertainty is good for journalism, if not for the economy.

Forbes | Progressive Economics: The Rise Of Bureaucracy In America

Bureaucracy is suffocating America; yet, the bureaucrats themselves are doing quite well. It seems that the more they asphyxiate our economy, the more prosperous the bureaucratic class becomes.

Wall Street Journal | The Fed Has Hurt Business Investment

For real assets, the benefits of QE are far less obvious—and the results far less impressive. Weak economic data and mixed messages from the Fed in recent months only heighten our concerns about the trajectory of the economy and the sustainability of U.S. financial-asset prices.


Bloomberg View | The SEC's Kangaroo Courts

Some have likened the SEC's quasi-judicial system to a kangaroo court. Even if it isn't, it has the potential to become one. It should be restrained before it does too much damage.

  On the Horizon 

November 3, 2015 10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Markup


November 4, 2015 10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Hearing

"Semi-Annual Testimony on the Federal Reserve’s Supervision and Regulation of the Financial System

  In the News

Wall Street Journal | U.S. Government Uses Race Test for $80 Million in Payments

The Hill | Yellen to discuss Fed's Wall Street oversight before House panel

Politico Pro | Yellen to testify before Financial Services Committee Nov. 4

Reuters | Fed's Yellen to appear before congressional committee Nov. 4

Bloomberg | House Passes Bill to Halt DOL Fiduciary Rule Proposal

Washington Free Beacon | 1,925 Days After Position Created to Conduct Oversight of the Fed, Obama Has Yet to Appoint Someone

Detroit News | Obama Rules Deny Small Investors Advice

Bloomberg | Yellen to Testify Nov. 4 on Bank Regulation Before House Panel

Bloomberg | House Set to Vote on Fannie-Freddie Executive Pay Cap

American Banker | Yellen to Testify on Fed Regulatory Activities

Posted by Staff on October 23, 2015
HUD at 50

The Financial Services Committee held a hearing Thursday to review the role and impact the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has had on federal housing policy in the 50 years since its creation.

Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said, "Our collective goal cannot be limited to helping people tolerate poverty, it must be to help them escape poverty. Whether I’ve met them at the Salvation Army Women’s Shelter, Habitat for Humanity homes or the Jubilee Center in my native Dallas, I know that is the aspiration of our low income brothers and sisters. We must help them find ways for them to provide for their families, to conquer generational cycles of dependency, and to have the opportunity to enjoy the dignity of meaningful work."

Republican Members emphasized the value and dignity of work as a path to self-sufficiency and the need for HUD programs to help people escape the cycle of poverty rather than become stuck in it.

Housing and Insurance Subcommittee Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) said, “HUD’s programs and policies are in need of an overhaul and should turn its focus on reducing red tape instead of creating it. I thank Chairman Hensarling for his commitment to exploring this serious subject so that we can improve opportunity for and accessibility of affordable housing across the nation.”

Legislative Proposals to Promote Main Street Job Growth

The Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee held a hearing on Wednesday to review legislative proposals designed to help Main Street businesses focus their time and resources toward creating jobs and growing their businesses rather than trying to comply to unnecessary and overly burdensome rules. Small businesses and community financial institutions are being buried under Dodd-Frank Act regulations and other bureaucratic mandates.

Subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) noted, "Throughout this Congress, we have seen examples and heard testimony about how regulatory impediments prohibit job creation, cause consolidation of community financial institutions, and decrease choices for consumers."

The bills that the subcommittee reviewed are:
  • H.R. 2121, the “SAFE Transitional Licensing Act of 2015,” sponsored by Rep. Steve Stivers
  • H.R. 2209, to require the appropriate Federal banking agencies to treat certain municipal obligations as level 2A liquid assets, and for other purposes, sponsored by Rep. Luke Messer
  • H.R. 2287, the “National Credit Union Administration Budget Transparency Act,” sponsored by Rep. Mick Mulvaney
  • H.R. 2473, the “Preserving Capital Access and Mortgage Liquidity Act of 2015,” sponsored by Rep. William Lacey Clay
  • H.R. 2896, the “TAILOR Act,” sponsored by Rep. Scott Tipton
  • H.R. 2987, the “Community Bank Capital Clarification Act,” sponsored by Rep. Gregory Meeks
  • H.R. 3340, the “Financial Stability Oversight Council Reform Act,” sponsored by Rep. Tom Emmer
Federal Housing Reforms in the 21st Century

The Housing and Insurance Subcommittee held a hearing on Wednesday to examine how HUD and the Rural Housing Service can better serve the housing needs of low-income individuals and families.

Much of the hearing focused on H.R. 3700, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act,” introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO).

“This week’s subcommittee hearing provided a great opportunity for both members on the subcommittee and leaders in housing advocacy and industry to express their priorities in housing reform,” he said, noting that witnesses appearing at the hearing all share “the desire to see changes in federal programs so they can more easily serve families in need.”

H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act, modernizes and streamlines HUD and Rural Housing Service programs to more effectively serve individuals in need of housing assistance. Members continuously expressed bipartisan support for this bill and its objective to responsibly provide housing assistance for low-income communities and the homeless.

Oversight of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management

The Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee held a Friday oversight hearing of the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Division of Investment Management.

Committee Members called for the SEC to use its time and resources more wisely toward its statutory mission, with a specific emphasis on capital formation so small businesses can access the financing they need.

Subcommittee Chairman Scott Garrett (R-NJ) remarked, "As part of our oversight responsibility, this Subcommittee will be closely monitoring the SEC’s actions in this area to ensure that they actually reflect the SEC’s three-fold mission, and are not simply ad hoc responses to threats from other regulatory bodies."

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Rep. Robert Pittenger | Pittenger: 'We're a lion with no teeth'

Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., is vice chairman of the House Financial Services Committee's Task Force on Terrorism Financing, which has been investigating ways of improving U.S. efforts to choke off the flow of money to international terrorist groups.

Weekend Must Reads


American Action Forum | When Regulatory Costs Trump Benefits

Typically, whenever an agency issues a major rule, they tout how the benefits greatly exceed the costs. However, agencies are far more reticent about promoting regulations that actually do more harm to the economy than good.

AEI | Is Dodd-Frank’s Orderly Liquidation Authority Necessary to Fix Too Big to Fail?

The Dodd-Frank Act (DFA) Orderly Liquidation Authority has many legal issues that could prevent its use. Should there be a next financial crisis, regulators may again be forced to sell a large failing bank to a larger banking institution, creating yet another too-big-to-fail institution.

    On the Horizon 

Stay Tuned!

  In the News

Wall Street Journal | Lawmakers Raise Alarms Over Tapping Banks to Pay for Highways

The Hill | Lawmakers want to keep Fed dividend rate at 6 percent

American Banker | The Choking Continues After 'Choke Point'

American Banker | House Lawmakers Push Back on Fed Dividend Cut

Wall Street Journal | SEC Faces New Attack on In-House Judges

CU Insight | House committee looks at CUNA-backed regulatory relief bills today

Bloomberg | Bill Would Allow SEC Defendants to Use Federal Court

Bloomberg | Bill Would Create Small Business Advocate at SEC

Posted by Staff on October 22, 2015


One of the witnesses at today’s committee hearing on the Future of Housing in America is Renee Glover, who has been actively involved in affordable housing for more than 30 years from several different vantage points:  the private sector, the public sector and the international non-government sector.  From nearly 20 years, she was CEO of the Atlanta Housing Authority.

In 1994, when Glover took over at the Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA), the organization was considered corrupt and ineffective. Atlanta was suffering from a major public housing crisis with the highest percentages of residents in public housing in the US and rampant crime and despair.

Things were so bleak for Atlanta’s public housing projects, some of which dated back the 1930s, that Governing Magazine referred to them as their “own dismal universe of poverty and crime — walled off psychologically and sometimes physically from the rest of the city.

Glover changed all that. In preparation for the 1996 Olympic Games, AHA established an innovative, long-term blueprint for a coordinated approach to its housing challenges. The plan was based on a new model of developing mixed-income, mixed-finance housing. AHA began demolishing its old public housing projects in 1995 and, by the end of Glover’s tenure, had torn down almost 15,000 units spread over 32 dilapidated projects. In their place, AHA constructed modern townhouse developments where lower-income residents would share their neighborhoods with middle-income residents. To fund this transformation, Glover leveraged AHA’s limited federal funds into private investment dollars to revitalize struggling neighborhoods. This approach to public-private coordination also allowed AHA to decrease its payroll from 1,400 people to 380 in her first 13 years.

As a result of her efforts, Glover successfully converted AHA from being a HUD-labeled “Troubled” housing authority in 1994 to a “High Performer” in 1999, a status it still maintains today.

ATLANTAS HOUSING SUCCESS TIMELINE


1990 – HUD places the Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA) on its list of “Troubled” housing authorities based on its inability to maintain housing quality, collect rents, occupy vacant units, and provide a safe environment for its 16,500 inhabitants.

1994 – Glover appointed as AHA’s president and CEO; AHA’s then-score on HUD’s annual management assessment program used to evaluate all public housing agencies: only 36 out of 100.

1995 – AHA adopts a new multi-year strategic plan to transform the delivery of affordable housing by deconcentrating poverty. It begins tearing down outdated housing projects and replacing those units with privately managed mixed-income developments.

1998 – HUD removes AHA from its “Troubled” housing authorities list.

1999 – AHA scores 100 out of 100 on HUD’s annual management assessment program, earning its “High Performing Agency” designation.

2003 – AHA awarded “Moving to Work” (MTW) status by HUD, granting it more local flexibility to innovate in its use of federal funds by exempting it from layers of Washington red tape. According to HUD, MTW authorities “are expected to use the opportunities presented by MTW to inform HUD about ways to better address local community needs.”

2005 – To promote greater self-sufficiency, AHA uses its MTW flexibility to institute a work requirement that able-bodied residents must maintain continuous full‐time employment or participate in a combination of school, job‐training and/or part‐time employment for a minimum of 30 hours per week.

2011 – AHA demolishes the last of its public housing projects, the Palmer House high-rise, ending a failed eight decades long experiment. Atlanta had been the home to the nation's first public housing community, Techwood Homes, built in 1936.

2015 – According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, as of today the Atlanta Housing Authority has “sponsored 16 master-planned, mixed-use, mixed-income communities, in partnership with private sector real estate developers and other investors, leveraging $300 million of federal funds into over $3 billion of private investment and economic impact.

Posted by Staff on October 09, 2015
House Passes Bipartisan Consumer Protection and Regulatory Relief Bills

The House passed five bipartisan Financial Services bills this week, including one that provides a formal hold-harmless period for those making a good faith effort to comply with the CFPB’s 1,888-page TRID rule, which became effective on Oct. 3.

The bill, H.R. 3192, the Homebuyers Assistance Act sponsored by Rep. French Hill (R-AR), passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 303-121.

“I am happy members of both sides of the aisle were able to come together and move legislation that will prevent costly market disruptions and delays for Americans homebuyers,” said Rep. Hill.

Four other bipartisan bills that passed the House this week provide needed regulatory relief for Main Street job creators and investors, and help state and local agencies aid families in collecting child support payments. Americans working in the financial sector to have the freedom to use their time and resources toward creating jobs and growing the economy rather than complying by misguided rules. The following are the financial services bills that passed with bipartisan support:

• H.R. 1553, the Small Bank Exam Cycle Reform Act, sponsored by Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO)

• H.R. 1839, the Reforming Access for Investments in Startup Enterprises Act (RAISE) Act, sponsored by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC)

• H.R. 2091, the Child Support Assistance Act, sponsored by Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME)

• H.R. 1525, the Disclosure Modernization and Simplification Act, sponsored by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ)

Subcommittee Recommends MDBs Focus on Economic Growth

The Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee held a hearing on Friday to discuss the future of multilateral development banks (MDBs) and how they can more effectively spur economic growth to alleviate poverty in developing countries.

“Congress plays an important role in determining U.S. funding for the MDBs and engaging in oversight of the Administration’s participation in the MDBs," remarked Subcommittee Chairman Bill Huizenga (R-MI). "The MDBs’ goal is to draw on member nations’ contributions to leverage additional private sector financing."

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Rep. French Hill | House OKs Hill's bill to delay bank rebuke

Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., who sponsored the bill, said businesses are concerned that the agency won't be lenient, despite a written promise from the bureau's director. An act of Congress, he said, would give the institutions greater confidence.

Rep. Scott Tipton| House OKs Tipton’s bank relief bill

The House unanimously passed legislation on Tuesday sponsored by Rep. Scott Tipton that would ease regulatory burdens on well-managed community banks.

Weekend Must Reads


Investor's Business Daily | Sorry, Bernanke, But Fed’s ‘Recovery’ Was Miserable

This “recovery” has been by far the worst – even by the Fed’s own data. Put simply, Fed policies since the financial crisis not only haven’t helped the economy rebound, they’ve also held it back.

Powerline | Why the Big Banks Love the Democrats

Democrats are corporatists who want to favor a few big firms that the government can then control. Dodd-Frank has been a disaster, but not for the nation’s biggest banks and not for the Democratic Party.

    In the News

Bloomberg | House Passes Bill Easing Exams on Small Banks

Washington Examiner | GOP seeks to rein in Obama's finance bureau

American Banker | House Passes Bill to Delay Enforcement of New Mortgage Disclosures

HousingWire| House passes bipartisan TRID grace period bill 303-121

The Hill | Dem economists attack Elizabeth Warren over Brookings firing

Washington Examiner | Jobs Report: Disappointment Is Routine With This Administration

Investor's Business Daily | Jobs Report: Disappointment Is Routine With This Administration

Wall Street Journal | Top Republican Urges Yellen to Comply with Congressional Subpoena