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Committee Passes 11 Bipartisan Regulatory Relief Bills


Washington, Mar 26 -

The House Financial Services Committee today approved 11 bipartisan bills designed to help strengthen the economy and consumer choice by relieving community banks and credit unions from some of the harmful regulatory burden imposed by Washington.

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 customers.  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.

This is why 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.”

The 11 bills passed by the committee have bipartisan support.  All 11 bills had also previously been approved by either the Financial Services Committee or the House of Representatives during the 113th Congress.  However, none of the bills came up for a vote in the Senate, which was then under Democratic control.

A list and summary of the bills passed today follows:

H.R. 299, the Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act
Sponsor:  Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH)

Summary:  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.

The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 56-1.

H.R. 601, the Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act
Sponsor:  Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)

Summary:  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.

The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 57-0.

H.R. 650, the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act

Sponsor:  Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN)

Summary:  Amends the Truth in Lending Act, as modified by the Dodd-Frank Act, to ensure that consumers can continue to have access to manufactured housing by altering the definition of a “high-cost mortgage.”  The bill passed the committee by voice vote during the 113th Congress.

The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 43-15.

H.R. 685, the “the Mortgage Choice Act

Sponsor:  Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI)

Summary:  Provides clarity to the calculation of points and fees, allowing more loans to qualify as Qualified Mortgages and increasing options for borrowers.  The bill passed the House by voice vote during the 113th Congress. 

The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 43-12.

H.R. 1195, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Advisory Boards Act
Sponsor:  Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC)

Summary:  Creates a small business advisory board to advise the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This advisory board will provide small businesses the opportunity to weigh in on matters of concern, and for the CFPB to learn about market conditions affecting these businesses.  The bill also codifies two other advisory committees created by CFPB Director Cordray, the Credit Union Advisory Council and the Community Bank Advisory Council.  The committee passed the bill by voice vote during the 113th Congress.

The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 53-5.

H.R. 1259, the Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act

Sponsor:  Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY)

Summary:  Provides an appeals process for areas to be designated as rural for the purpose of exempting certain loans from the CFPB’s Qualified Mortgage rule.  The bill passed the House by voice vote during the 113th Congress.

The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 56-2.

H.R. 1265, the Bureau Advisory Commission Transparency Act
Sponsor:  Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI)

Summary:  Brings greater transparency and accountability to the CFPB by subjecting it to the Federal Advisory Committee Act.  Only three agencies are exempted from the Federal Advisory Committee Act – the CIA, the Directorate 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.

The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 56-2.

H.R. 1367, clarifying the Expedited Funds Availability Act’s application to U.S. territories

Sponsor:  Rep. Amata Radewagen (R-American Samoa)

Summary:  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.

The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 58-0.

H.R. 1408 the Mortgage Servicing Asset Capital Requirements Act

Sponsor:  Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO)

Summary:  Directs federal banking agencies to conduct a study to determine the appropriate capital requirements for mortgage servicing assets for community financial institutions.  The bill passed the committee 44-9 during the 113th Congress.

The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 49-9.

H.R. 1480, the SAFE Act Confidentiality and Privilege Enhancement Act

Sponsor:  Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL)

Summary:  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.

The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 58-0.

H.R. 1529, the Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act

Sponsor:  Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA)

Summary:  Ensures that consumers continue to have various credit choices by allowing smaller community financial institutions to enter the mortgage market without being deterred by the high cost of regulatory compliance.  The bill amends the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act to direct the CFPB to provide exemptions from the mortgage escrow account requirements of Dodd-Frank and for small servicers that annually service 20,000 or fewer mortgage loans.  The bill passed the committee 43-16 during the 113th Congress. 

The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 48-10.