House to Consider Bills to Help Provide Financial Independence and Regulatory Relief
April 13, 2015 -
This week, the House will consider a number of bipartisan bills recently passed by the Financial Services Committee to promote a healthier economy, preserve consumer choice, and help Americans achieve the dream of financial independence.
The explosive growth of regulation following the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act has made it significantly harder for community banks and credit unions to survive and serve consumers. New regulations and higher compliance costs have accelerated the pace of industry consolidation and forced many small banks and credit unions to close their doors. Since the passage of Dodd-Frank nearly five years ago, big financial institutions have gotten bigger and small financial institutions have become fewer.
As a result, consumers are finding they have less access to affordable credit and that their local financial institution can no longer provide them with the products and services they want and need, such as free checking or affordable home mortgages.
Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) has said the committee has no more “urgent priority” than passing regulatory relief legislation for hometown banks and credit unions.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that community banks and credit unions are withering on the vine. We are losing, on average, more than one a day and they are not perishing of natural causes,” said Chairman Hensarling. “The sheer weight, volume, cost, complexity and uncertainty of federal regulation is a burden that is killing them off. And as they die, unfortunately, so do the dreams of millions of our fellow citizens who rely upon these community financial institutions to achieve their American dream of financial independence.”
Bills to be considered under a rule:
H.R. 650, the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN) and co-sponsored by Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL), Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), will ensure consumers – especially low and moderate-income consumers – can continue to have access to affordable manufactured housing.
H.R. 650 passed the committee on March 26 by a vote of 43-15.
H.R. 685, the Mortgage Choice Act, sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) and co-sponsored by Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Rep. David Scott (D-GA), Rep. Michael Doyle (D-PA), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL) and Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-IN), provides clarity to the calculation of points and fees in mortgage transactions, allowing more loans to be classified as Qualified Mortgages and increasing affordable options for borrowers. H.R. 685 passed the committee on March 26 by a vote of 43-12.
The House passed the Mortgage Choice Act by voice vote when it was considered during the 113th Congress on June 9, 2014.
Bills to be considered under suspension:
H.R. 299, the Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act
Sponsor: Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH)
Allows privately insured state chartered credit unions to apply for membership in the Federal Home Loan Bank System, which would help them better serve the financial needs of consumers. The bill passed the House by a vote of 395-0 during the 113th Congress.
H.R. 601, the Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act
Sponsor: Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)
Reduces confusion among consumers by clarifying that they will receive privacy notices after opening a new account when their financial institution’s privacy policies change rather than an annual notice. The House passed a similar bill by voice vote during the 113th Congress.
H.R. 1259, the Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act
Sponsor: Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY)
Provides a petition process for areas to be designated as rural for the purpose of federal consumer financial laws, which could enable more loans to rural borrowers to qualify for special treatment under CFPB rules. The bill passed the House by voice vote during the 113th Congress.
H.R. 1265, the Bureau Advisory Commission Transparency Act
Sponsor: Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI)
Brings greater transparency and accountability to the CFPB by subjecting it to the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Only three agencies are exempted by statute from open meeting provisions in the Federal Advisory Committee Act – the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Federal Reserve. The CFPB is not involved in intelligence collection, covert operations, or the formation of monetary policy, so there is no reason that it cannot hold its committee and subcommittee meetings in public. This bill passed the committee by voice vote during the 113th Congress.
H.R. 1367, clarifying the Expedited Funds Availability Act’s application to U.S. territories
Sponsor: Rep. Amata Radewagen (R-American Samoa)
Improves check-clearing wait times in American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands by extending the application of the Expedited Funds Availability Act. The bill passed the House by voice vote during the 113th Congress.
H.R. 1480, the SAFE Act Confidentiality and Privilege Enhancement Act
Sponsor: Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL)
Provides assurance for financial institutions that privileged information shared between federal banking regulators and state regulatory agencies will be protected and remain confidential. The bill passed the House by voice vote during the 113th Congress.