House Passes Regulatory Relief Bill

President Trump expected to sign legislation

The House of Representatives approved Senate bill 2155 on Tuesday, a major breakthrough in the effort to ease the regulatory burden on credit unions. The legislation now goes to President Trump, who is expected to sign it. Credit unions, the leagues and CUNA vigorously supported the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act.

The Association met with members of our delegation and their staff who offered their continued support for our tax exemption and the individual provisions of S. 2155 that benefit credit unions, but most, as expected, did not vote for the legislation. However, Rep. John Delaney (D) and Rep. Andy Harris (R) voted in favor of the bill.

As you may recall, Senator Cardin did not support S. 2155, but did release a floor statement in the Congressional Record recognizing the vital role credit unions play in communities throughout Maryland and the Washington region. Senator Cardin expressed support for the credit union provisions in S. 2155, and went so far as to indicate that he would have voted for those provisions as standalone legislation.

Some of the key provisions we have been working on with our delegation focused on allowing credit unions to spend more time focusing on serving their members and less time on regulations aimed at big banks. Below are some of our key priorities included in the bill:

Section 101 – Minimum Standards for Residential Mortgage Loans
Section 101 would establish a safe harbor from certain requirements for a loan to be considered a Qualified Mortgage (QM) for purposes of the Ability to Repay rule for banks and credit unions under $10 billion in total consolidated assets, so long as that loan is held in portfolio by the originating institution or a qualifying transferee.

Section 104 – Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Adjustment and Study
Section 104 would rescind the additional data points required to be collected by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) for insured credit unions and depository banks that originate fewer than 500 closed-end mortgages and/or 500 open-end lines of credit (HELOCs) in each of two consecutive years. This provision would provide much needed relief, particularly for smaller credit unions, which otherwise must undertake significant expense to bring their systems into compliance with a rule that does very little – if anything –to provide credit union members with additional protection.

Section 105 – Credit Union Residential Loans
Section 105 would correct a disparity by providing consistency in treatment between banks and credit unions, allowing substantially more capital investment in affordable rental housing with an exemption for 1-4 family, non-owner occupied properties. Up to $4 billion in capital could be freed up by this simple change.

Section 303 – Immunity from Suit for Disclosure of Financial Exploitation of Senior Citizens
Section 303 provides a safe harbor for properly trained financial employees who report alleged elder financial abuse. This represents an important step toward improving protections for seniors.