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During Caucus, Bachus, McHenry, West decry excessive regulation

Washington, September 21, 2011 - By NAFCU
September 21, 2011

Regulatory overreach was a recurring theme during NAFCU’s Congressional Caucus Tuesday, with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., urging attendees to tell lawmakers how credit unions are being impacted.

To illustrate the excessive number of regulations under the Dodd-Frank law, Bachus’ aide brought a heavy box on stage with several stacks of paper filled with the law’s rules and requirements. Pointing to those, Bachus said, “We need to tell Congress, ‘That’s money. That’s time.’”

Underscoring his point, Bachus said 3,700 new regulations were put in place last year, but only 25 percent of the Dodd-Frank rules have been implemented thus far.

House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee Chairman Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., said rulemaking of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created by the Dodd-Frank law, will impact credit unions’ ability to stay solvent and limit their product and service offerings.

McHenry told Caucus attendees he is particularly concerned that CFPB rules will be approved by a single director. A CFPB rule can only be overturned with a two-thirds vote of the members of the Financial Oversight Stability Council, and only if the council determines the rule would undermine the entire financial system – not whether it would put credit unions out of business. “That is a ridiculously high standard we have to face,” he said.

At a cost of $1.25 billion and 200,000 jobs, McHenry quipped that the Dodd-Frank Act is indeed a jobs bill. He was greeted with enthusiastic applause when he asked why credit unions should be punished by CFPB rules when they did not cause the problems leading to the bureau’s creation. He said he appreciates that NAFCU wishes to find a “feasible and workable solution” to the CFPB “so you don’t have a bureaucracy that will ban a product that your members want.”

In discussing President Obama’s deficit reduction proposal, which was released Monday, McHenry pointed out that the credit union tax exemption was not cited in the plan, and said that there is broad, bipartisan support in Congress about the value of the credit union tax exemption.

Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., told Caucus participants he agreed with McHenry that the Dodd-Frank law was an overreaction to the financial crisis and that it has hurt credit unions. West, also a member of the House Financial Services Committee, encouraged attendees to be engaged and involved with lawmakers. “Tell us what’s going on,” he said. “Force us to make the right decisions.”

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